3-D Technology at Purdue Calumet CIVS Facility Aids Efficiency Projects

HAMMOND | Purdue University Calumet is working to enhance the local profile of a campus center that has a global reputation for leading research projects that have saved companies millions of dollars.

At a breakfast presentation Wednesday, university personnel and representatives from companies in the region and abroad shared success stories and made a marketing pitch for the school’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation.

The multidisciplinary center uses simulation techniques with 3-D visualization and virtual reality technologies. The center uses the technology to solve research problems at the university, business and community levels.

Chancellor Howard Cohen said the center is important because it combines faculty applied research, student research and community need to benefit Northwest Indiana.

“We encourage you” to work with the center and this teaching tool, Cohen said in a pitch to the audience.

During the presentations, more than 100 audience members put on 3-D glasses to see models of the inside of a steel mill blast furnace and efficiency projects at companies including ArcelorMittal and NIPSCO.

“(The partnership) has given us tools which we never have had before, and we plan to expand on that,” said Richard Sussman, general manager of global research and development at ArcelorMittal in East Chicago.

Chenn Zhou, director of the center, said the center has worked on more than 50 projects involving more than 100 students since operations began in 2009.

She said the center is part of the future in designing products and analyzing processes, and applications of the center’s technology are only limited by the imagination. The center has a project with the city of Gary to build a virtual reality visualization of a facility that could serve as permanent housing for the homeless.

John D’Alessio, manager of blast furnace engineering and technology with U.S. Steel Canada, said he could see working with the center to create simulations for new employees to help them better understand manufacturing processes they are controlling.

Don Babock, director of economic development at NIPSCO and chairman of the Northwest Indiana Forum, said the innovation taking place at the center is part of what is going to help Northwest Indiana maintain its global competitiveness.

“What is Northwest Indiana’s value proposition? It has to be rooted in innovation,” Babcock said prior to praising the center’s efforts.

The center also is moving into the Donald S. Powers Computer Education Building on the Hammond campus from the University Services building by the end of the summer.