Manufacturing a future: Region’s economy has been evolving

Excerpt from an article written by Joseph S. Pete, NWI Times, published in the NWI Times on  March 22, 2014 [Opens in New Window]

Mitchell Nollar, of ArcelorMittal, points out details of a vertical edger used in the processing of steel at the Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation virtual reality lab at Purdue University Calumet. Looking on are students Hannah Amor, Yuanbang Sun and Bin Wu. The laboratory is a reflection of how increasingly high-tech manufacturing has become in Northwest Indiana.

Mitchell Nollar, of ArcelorMittal, points out details of a vertical edger used in the processing of steel at the Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation virtual reality lab at Purdue University Calumet. Looking on are students Hannah Amor, Yuanbang Sun and Bin Wu. The laboratory is a reflection of how increasingly high-tech manufacturing has become in Northwest Indiana. (Image by John J. Watkins, The Times).

…Local industry has unprecedented access to new technology, such as the 3-D computer modeling at the Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation, or CIVS, at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond. The university laboratory helps manufacturers train their employees with interactive programs and advance their production processes by turning complex data into virtual reality computer animations that can be studied to find improvements.

The lab has helped manufacturers save more than $30 million from increased efficiency and improved designs for blast furnaces, temperature sensors and venturi scrubbers that use liquid to remove fine particulates from streams. The lab also spared a manufacturing company $100 million capital expense by figuring out how it could avoid replacing a major piece of equipment.

Recently, CIVS assisted ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor after a housing gear burst on a piece of machinery that handles hot metal slabs before they are stretched out to sheet. Computer animations helped the steelmaker figure out why it broke, what would cause it to break again and how much load it could handle without breaking, research engineer Bin Wu said. The lab also helped U.S. Steel save money by figuring out a new way to inspect a crane that lifts a ladle full of molten metal without shutting down production for two days.

“For manufacturing, there’s direct savings by troubleshooting, cost avoidance by not having to buy new equipment and avoiding downtime,” CIVS Director Chenn Zhou said. “We also offer training that provides more skill for operators, results in more effective communication and saves money over time.”…