Dassault Systèmes and Airbus Cut Ribbon on Wichita State Innovation Campus
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on May 01, 2017 |
The Innovation Campus allows Wichita State University students to work with engineers on real-world ...

Universities have become the proving grounds for public-private partnerships to demonstrate how private corporations can work with public universities to further research and education. It’s a trend that intensified after World War II, and companies have now established facilities at places of higher education around the U.S. and around the globe. 


The new Innovation Center at WSU. (Image courtesy of Jeff Tuttle Photography.)
The new Innovation Center at WSU. (Image courtesy of Jeff Tuttle Photography.)

As CAD-fueled additive manufacturing (AM) comes into its own, the trend has extended to the world of 3D, with a growing number of companies establishing advanced manufacturing research sites at universities. Among them is the Innovation Campus at Wichita State University (WSU), a project that began two years ago but had its grand opening on April 27, 2017.

WSU and Dassault Systèmes initiated plans for the site two years ago as a means of furthering innovation in aerospace, where industry professionals could work alongside WSU students. Since the initial partnership began, Airbus has also signed on to the project. April 27 marked the official opening of the Innovation Center, which features a series of laboratories, a makerspace and other facilities. While WSU students will be able to work on real-world engineering projects with staff from Airbus and Dassault Systèmes, the corporations will have access to the university’s infrastructure, research labs, meeting facilities, education and training opportunities. 

The center will allow students and professionals to work with multi-robotic advanced manufacturing. (Image courtesy of Jeff Tuttle Photography.)
The center will allow students and professionals to work with multi-robotic advanced manufacturing. (Image courtesy of Jeff Tuttle Photography.)

WSU President John Bardo spoke of the role that the site will play for his students, “This is the beginning of a new era at Wichita State University—an opportunity for students to work alongside experienced professionals, gaining knowledge about the tools and processes used by industry. We see these partnerships as a model for future partnerships in areas such as business, education, health professions, arts and sciences.”

To participate in the endeavor, Airbus moved the Airbus Americas Wichita Engineering Center to the Innovation Campus and set up a 90,000-square-foot facility. There, 300 employees will work on designs for the Airbus A350 XWB aircraft, which is becoming one of the most 3D-printed planes yet. The A350 XWB will feature 3D-printed fuel nozzles from GE Aviation and Safran, over 1,000 plastic parts from Stratasys, and fuselage and engine pylon parts from Alcoa, among others.

The center will provide access to 3D printing, among other advanced manufacturing technologies. (Image courtesy of Jeff Tuttle Photography.)
The center will provide access to 3D printing, among other advanced manufacturing technologies. (Image courtesy of Jeff Tuttle Photography.)

Also on the Innovation Campus is Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE Center, which is located in the Experimental Engineering building and is aimed at advancing technologies like AM and virtual product development. The center is meant to enable the engineering of new materials, multi-scale simulation and optimization, multi-robotic advanced manufacturing and on-demand certification. 

Virtual prototyping will also be possible at the campus. (Image courtesy of Jeff Tuttle Photography.)
Virtual prototyping will also be possible at the campus. (Image courtesy of Jeff Tuttle Photography.)

Michel Tellier, vice president of Aerospace and Defense Industry at Dassault Systèmes, said of the new site, “Our partnership with Wichita State University is a model for how public institutions and businesses can work together for the advancement of new technologies. Our new 3DEXPERIENCE Center is going to help businesses solve today’s problems while training the workforce of tomorrow. The advanced manufacturing techniques, new materials research and 3D simulation innovations that are unveiled in this new facility will have an immediate impact on the aerospace industry, and will also be applicable to countless other industries across the world.”

It was clear from the ribbon-cutting ceremony that WSU students are being trained to hone their engineering skills on real-world projects for Airbus and Dassault Systèmes. Next, we’ll see how they apply these skills as actual aerospace engineers leaving the university. To learn more, visit the Innovation Campus website.

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