Fueling Advanced Manufacturing Growth Across Indiana’s Hard Tech Corridor: Reimagine IN-MaC through Purdue in West Lafayette and Indianapolis

To fuel and impact the ongoing manufacturing renaissance and expand its reach across Indiana, Purdue University is launching The Indiana Next-Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC) node at Purdue University in Indianapolis in a joint venture with Purdue’s Manufacturing and Materials Research Laboratories (MMRL).
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To fuel and impact the ongoing manufacturing renaissance and expand its reach across Indiana, Purdue University is launching The Indiana Next-Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC) node at Purdue University in Indianapolis in a joint venture with Purdue’s Manufacturing and Materials Research Laboratories (MMRL).

Manufacturing today is undergoing a national renaissance, especially at the crossroads of America in Indiana, through reshoring, retooling and retraining along with the integration of digital, physical and sustainable manufacturing and operational technologies and assets.

Purdue is leading the renaissance for the state and country, at large, through multiple key Indiana and nation-focused initiatives, such as IN-MaC and eXcellence in Manufacturing and Operations (XMO). Critical technology platforms such as digital twin, 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing (AM), artificial intelligence, internet of things and more are offered to small- and mid-size as well as large industries for innovations, technology updates and for workforce training at scale. Indiana is the highest in the nation for manufacturing intensity (Source: NAM/Bureau of Economic Analysis).

More than one in five Hoosiers already work in advanced manufacturing.

“This project is but one illustration of the many ways Purdue University in Indianapolis will more effectively connect faculty and talent to the Indianapolis community,” said Dan Hasler, chief operating officer of Purdue University in Indianapolis.

Since its inception, IN-MaC has been a partnership between Purdue’s Polytechnic Institute and the College of Engineering and includes collaboration with Ivy Tech and Vincennes University to help solve manufacturing challenges for Indiana-based companies. Recently, Purdue leadership advocated for a Hard Tech Corridor between West Lafayette and Indianapolis as a way to support Indiana manufacturing, entrepreneurship and economic development in critical technology areas. To support this initiative, IN-MaC will be reimagined in a way that will now have two locations — West Lafayette and Indianapolis — to amplify digital, physical and sustainable industrial transformation impact along the corridor.

“The IN-MaC at Purdue University in Indianapolis will be a joint venture with Purdue College of Engineering’s Manufacturing and Materials Research Laboratories,” said Ajay P. Malshe, inaugural director of MMRL and the R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering. “We’re investing to put a strong foundation of a manufacturing ‘hard tech corridor’ between West Lafayette and Indianapolis, to go from manufacturing inventions to innovations to industrial implementations.

“Over a decade, IN-MaC has built a successful foundation of Indiana-centric manufacturing programs, and this next step will allow us to reimage the next decade. As Indiana’s sole land-grant institution, chartered to be of service to the Hoosiers, we wanted to root IN-MaC:MMRL at Purdue University in Indianapolis to serve Indiana’s population and businesses more hands-on and effectively.”

MMRL is one of the early outcomes of the latest XMO national initiative of Purdue. MMRL brings together world-class faculty and staff from the nationally top-ranked schools including Schools of Mechanical Engineering, Materials Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Nuclear Engineering, with more to follow, to further advance physical manufacturing, advanced materials and design research, education and industry collaboration. MMRL brings multimillion dollar latest and the best physical manufacturing test bed hardware assets accessible to industries for innovation and uptake of innovations.

“Manufacturing is crucial to economic resilience and security in Indiana,” said Arvind Raman, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering. “In addition to our students, we serve all of Indiana. MMRL, IN-MaC and Purdue University in Indianapolis take a ‘whole-of-Purdue’ approach to advance manufacturing and economic vitality in the state — and by virtue of technology transfer and workforce development, will put into place a template and roadmap for sustainable manufacturing success across the nation.”

Daniel Castro, dean of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, said the initiative builds on the successful track record of IN-MaC and capitalizes on the opportunity to amplify its influence, aligned with Purdue’s strategic priorities.

“The presence of IN-MaC at Purdue University in Indianapolis marks the start of a transformative phase characterized by meaningful collaborations with both industry and community, with the shared goal of advancing manufacturing in Indiana,” Castro said.

IN-MaC was launched 12 years ago with the charter to develop research, technology adoption and workforce development programs to support the digital transformation of the manufacturing sector in Indiana.

Nathan Hartman, director of IN-MaC in West Lafayette and the Dauch Family Professor of Advanced Manufacturing at Purdue University, said IN-MaC has served as a focal point for manufacturing discovery, learning and engagement related to Industry 4.0 and the digital transformation of manufacturing since its inception.

IN-MaC has:

  • Engaged over 200,000 K-16 students from over 500 Indiana manufacturers, schools and community organizations across 87 of 92 Indiana counties via IN-MaC education and workforce development programs.
  • Launched a digital manufacturing testbed capability to research and demonstrate the methods and tools associated with Industry 4.0. The testbed has been leveraged in external proposals for cybersecurity, energy efficiency, and future manufacturing with a value of over $30 million.
  • Deployed 68 Design and Innovation Studios in K-12 schools throughout Indiana to teach STEM fundamentals in the context of designing and making products. Five Studios have been launched inside Cummins Inc., Endress+Hauser USA, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, Subaru Indiana Automotive, Inc., and Toyota Manufacturing of Indiana to support student awareness of manufacturing and employee development.
  • Completed 125 industrial technology adoption projects in such areas as automation, machine sensors and data acquisition, industrial robotics, component part optimization, and CAD/CAM fundamentals.
  • Completed projects typically resulted in industry savings of approximately $600,000 in each state budget cycle.

“Reimagined IN-MaC, IN-MaC 2.0, will see us engaging and integrating the digital manufacturing testbed at IN-MaC West Lafayette with the advanced physical manufacturing testbed infrastructure of IN-MaC: MMRL in Indianapolis to support manufacturing transformation in Indiana,” Hartman said. "IN-MaC: West Lafayette will continue to grow its highly successful workforce development programs in K-12 across Indiana.”

David Umulis, senior vice provost and chief academic officer for Purdue University in Indianapolis, said: “Indiana knows manufacturing, and so does Purdue, with a rich tradition of leading innovations and translation into production practice. IN-MaC at Purdue University in Indianapolis is a welcoming step poised to provide hands-on manufacturing leadership across Indiana’s hard tech corridor and to our new education programs in Indianapolis.”