eXcellence in Manufacturing and Operations (XMO) initiative meets the moment

Purdue Engineering draws on a long history of excellence in manufacturing and operations research, education and innovation for translation to announce the eXcellence in Manufacturing and Operations Purdue Engineering Initiative.
Futuristic technology trend concept of engineer using artificial intelligence robotic automation machine in factory connecting data network software to monitoring, operating process

As the U.S. experiences a resurgence of manufacturing and operations, Purdue University is providing a big lead. Purdue’s efforts in such areas as semiconductors, aerospace, defense, biomanufacturing for agriculture, and transportation figure prominently in bringing jobs and needed technology back to America and in defining the future through excellence in manufacturing and operations.

The Purdue College of Engineering and its cross-Purdue partners already are leaders in driving this resurgence of American manufacturing. Today, they are drawing on a long history of excellence in manufacturing and operations research, education and innovation for translation to announce the eXcellence in Manufacturing and Operations (XMO) Purdue Engineering Initiative (PEI).

“In making decisions at Purdue, we like to ask how they will maximize our positive impact on society through education, research and advancing our state and nation,” said Arvind Raman, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering and Robert V. Adams Professor in Mechanical Engineering. “This initiative provides another important arena in which we can help deliver tremendous benefits to the American people, our economy and our society. Reshoring and reimagining manufacturing for the 21st century is crucial to our future as a country, and we are proud to do our part in the revitalization of American manufacturing might.”

“At Purdue, we have ‘maker’ in our name and our culture. Through the XMO PEI, Purdue will continue to contribute expertise in manufacturing and operations to the advancement of American society,” said Wayne Chen, associate dean of Engineering for research and innovation.

The XMO PEI will tap Purdue’s domain excellence to build a community of faculty, students and industries at today’s intersection of physical, digital and sustainable manufacturing. Manufacturing talent and workforce creation will be one of the strong components of the new PEI, enhancing training of the new workforce and empowering existing workers through retraining in the ecosystem of small, midsize and large companies that constitute Purdue's industrial base.

Two faculty members who are globally recognized and commended for their research, teaching and private-sector innovations and entrepreneurship in advanced manufacturing and operations will co-chair the XMO PEI: Ajay P. Malshe, the R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Stephan Biller, the Harold T. Amrine Distinguished Professor in the School of Industrial Engineering and the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business.

Malshe has gained a national and international reputation in academia, entrepreneurship and industries for advanced manufacturing, bio-inspired designing, functional multi-materials, and system integration and productization. Over the decades, application areas of his interest and contributions have included heterogeneous microelectronics for high-density systems; nanomanufacturing for extreme machines; in-space servicing, assembly and manufacturing (ISAM) at the point of need; and biomanufacturing for future foods and farms for equity. 

Biller’s research encompasses such subjects as smart manufacturing, digital twin, supply chain management, analytics, AI and cloud. He leverages his highly credentialed research, as well as extensive industry experience at IBM, GE and GM.

The multidisciplinary scope of these co-chairs’ research and other accomplishments mirrors the confluence of disciplines that governs advanced manufacturing and operations today as it spans physical processes, digital control, systems optimization and sustainable production.

“The eXcellence in Manufacturing and Operations PEI will play a key role in building the community of faculty, students, industries and government organizations that will pursue the innovations and great leaps to restore American manufacturing to preeminence in the local communities it supports, the nation it nourishes and the global economy in which it competes,” Raman said.

“For the first time, we will expand the scope of a PEI across campus to the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, the College of Agriculture, the College of Science and the Purdue Polytechnic Institute,” Biller said. “This will foster university-wide collaboration in the modern triad of digital, physical and sustainable manufacturing and operations, to boost U.S. efforts in reshoring, retooling and retraining the workforce in critical industrial sectors.”

As a land-grant university since its founding in 1869, Purdue always has featured a hands-on mandate to educate its engineering students for practical pursuits. Purdue’s Boilermakers nickname stems from the workers who built and maintained steam locomotives.

“As ‘makers,’ Purdue people have manufacturing in their DNA,” Malshe said. “At this time, there is a national calling for manufacturing competitiveness. Our new PEI is an important Purdue instrument that will converge multiple disciplines, beyond Engineering, in order to solve complex problems — in areas from microelectronics manufacturing to food equity, to Space 2.0 for commerce and security — to provide digital smartness to manufacturing businesses across the United States. The XMO PEI will be keen on workforce creation, solving problems for the greater good and sustainability.”

PEIs — also including current initiatives in Engineering-Medicine, Autonomous and Connected Systems, and Cislunar Space — are virtual organizational structures that engage faculty and colleagues from other Purdue colleges to nurture programs in research and learning. They serve to launch major research and education communities and centers, as well as create educational majors and minors and certificates for on-campus and online undergraduate and graduate students. The PEIs also stimulate industry and government partnerships, generate thought leadership and IP, and accelerate bring-to-market scale and commercialization.