Intro to the 3D Experience Lab Featuring: The Innovation Center at Wichita State

In order to expose new users to 3DEXPERIENCE, Dassault has been developing Innovation Centers around the country. In these innovation centers, users can run concept to design on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. We caught up with Nathan Shipley, director of emerging technologies and CAD/CAM at the National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University, to see how the Innovation Center is being used and why it’s such a game-changer for Wichita State and the industry as a whole.

Please describe the 3DEXPERIENCE Innovation Center at Wichita State — how did it come about and what is its purpose?

The Innovation Campus at Wichita State University was established as we saw a shift in what Universities need to be moving forward.  It is our vision to be recognized as the model for applied learning and research.  The 3DEXPERIENCE Center located on the Innovation campus provides access to an environment with all of the technological tools available to accelerate innovation and to find solutions to real world industry problems.  The purpose of the Innovation campus was to do three things: promote the startup of businesses based upon new ideas, support existing business growth and to grow a workforce for the future.  The purpose of the 3DEXPERIENCE Center is to transform a company’s innovation strategy by leveraging the latest disruptive technologies and industry solutions, prototype new concepts, methods and process and to gain access to NIAR (National Institute for Aviation Research) experts and the next generation workforce.  Many people ask, why Wichita? 

Here is some data: 

  • Wichita ranks number three in the nation among metros for highest concentration of engineers per 1,000 employees (22.4/1000).
  • Of the 100 largest U.S. metro areas Wichita ranks No. 1 in percentage of jobs involving STEM occupations and No. 1 in manufacturing jobs as percent of all jobs (17.7 percent), according to the Brookings Institution
  • Wichita is in the most manufacturing-specialized region in the U.S., according to the Brookings Institution

To date, how has the Innovation Center been used and who is using it?

The 3DEXPERIENCE Center has been used to allow industry to visit and truly experience the new technologies that exist and to be able to see how the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is integrated throughout these technologies.  It provides an opportunity for industry to have this experience and to bring some of their most pressing problems and put a team together involving the industry, Dassault Systemes (DS) and NIAR to work together to find solutions.  We have had several projects go through the center already, however, most cannot be discussed due to the proprietary nature of the projects.  In the first year, we have had over 1,500 visitors, 100 companies, 32 government agencies, 12 universities and six consulting firms come through on 167 tours and events.  This year, we are on pace to go even beyond that number. 

What benefits have you/others seen as a result of having this resource? Any interesting case studies/anecdotes to date?

Benefits of the center include the ability for industry to get acclimated to the new technologies both physically and virtually.  The ability to come to one place and experience the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and see all of the technologies come together in one place is incredible.  The industry hears about things like Industry 4.0, but here they get to experience it.  We have had several projects, but I’m just not sure how much I can share at this moment.  One case in particular involved a large aerospace company and they utilized the center using a team of their own with DS and NIAR and developed a new design of a large aircraft component through the manufacturing of a full scale prototype of the component in 84 days.  It was termed the “impossible project,” but with the right team of people, with the right resources made available and the environment to pull it all together, it was possible.

What is the significance of having access to hands-on labs like these?

The significance of having access to the hands-on labs and be able to experience all of these things both virtually and physically cannot be described.  Demonstrations and power point presentations only go so far.  At the 3DEXPERIENCE center people actually get to experience it.  For an industry to have a place where they can bring their issues and work through those issues hands-on with experts from DS and NIAR to get real solutions is amazing.  They get to actually see how these capabilities impact their business specifically without having to make a huge investment.

Anything else to share?

I would like to promote for the upcoming COExperience conference that there will be a general session that will have us provide an update of the Innovation Campus and the 3DEXPERIENCE Center.  We introduced the facilities at COE in spring of 2016 before the center was completed and at the conference in 2019 we will provide an update of how the center and campus has progressed.

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