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Purdue to host November summit, spotlight XMO PEI initiative

Oct. 17, 2023
Purdue experts will lay out a roadmap to reignite manufacturing in the U.S., touching on the topics of reshoring, retooling and retraining.

As part of its recently launched eXcellence in Manufacturing and Operations Purdue Engineering Initiative, or XMO PEI, Purdue University will in November host a summit at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C., for industry, government and academic stakeholders to discuss building resilient U.S. infrastructure for advanced manufacturing and operations.

The Nov. 7 summit, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the National Academy of Sciences building on Constitution Avenue in the nation's capital, will touch on several themes, including strengthening the U.S. advanced manufacturing industry’s adaptability for the 21st century across multiple sectors, such as semiconductors, aerospace, defense, biomanufacturing for agriculture, and transportation. The summit’s agenda is set to deal with the broad subjects reshoring, retooling, and retraining.

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The XMO PEI initiative is building a national coalition of academia, government and industry partners to meet at the intersection of physical, digital and sustainable manufacturing to achieve excellence at scale, according to a recent release from Purdue.

Confirmed speakers to the summit include U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Indiana), Wabash CEO Brent Yeagy, Mike Molnar, founding director of the NIST Office of Advanced Manufacturing and Institutes, Daniel Janka, president of Mazak Corp., Colin Parris, senior VP and chief technology officer at GE Digital, and Carolyn Lee, president and executive director of the The Manufacturing Institute.

“It’s not just advanced manufacturing in the sense of making things in a factory. It’s also the supporting operations that you need for creating these resilient supply chains, resilient infrastructure, and a resilient workforce,” said Stephan Biller, the Harold T. Amrine Distinguished Professor in the School of Industrial Engineering and the Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. School of Business at Purdue.

Biller and Ajay Malshe, the R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue, were named XMO PEI co-chairs in May 2023. Both are members of the National Academy of Engineering.

'What we need is infrastructural resilience'

“Our biggest challenge is that the U.S. has great scientific innovations, technologies and minds. What we need is infrastructural resilience and a system for fast and real-world engineering and industrial translation of innovations at scale,” Malshe said.

“While the U.S. is starting to make notable moves toward building a robust supply chain, we need to be more focused and intentional about resilient manufacturing and operations for the present and future as a matter of national security,” he added. “We’re addressing that through the XMO initiative with a unified national message that ‘we make, and we move.’”

Biller said the U.S. needs a manufacturing renaissance. “At the same time, we want to do it in a digitally enabled and sustainable way,” he added. “The renaissance is quite critical for prosperity, for our ability to innovate and for our society. If you only design and then have other nations manufacture this, you’re losing your ability to innovate.”

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Malshe noted: “I would like to go from ‘designing in America and manufacturing elsewhere’ to ‘designing in America and manufacturing in America.’ That’s the renaissance I’d like to see, and that’s the renaissance we need to build resilience.”

Where XMO PEI is concerned, Malshe and Biller said the initiative will help foster nationwide collaborations from multiple academic disciplines that share a common bond to develop, educate and retrain the workforce in critical industrial sectors.

Biller said accelerating the adoption of innovative technologies and tools in advanced manufacturing, strengthening operations, and bolstering the supply chain must benefit not only large corporations.

“We need to build an advanced manufacturing operations innovation ecosystem that will allow us to help the small and medium-sized businesses that supply the original equipment manufacturers,” he said. “If you want resilient supply chains and transparent supply chains, we need these small and medium manufacturers to transform in physical, digital and sustainable manufacturing.”