YSU gets high-tech grant

YOUNGSTOWN – Area university students will now have access to the program that NASA used to develop the Mars rover Curiosity, thanks to a $440 million in-kind grant.

The Siemens Corp. announced Thursday its donation of state-of-the-art product lifecycle management software and training to Youngstown State University’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

“This powerful and immense software … places YSU at the global forefront of both industry and academia, and makes students more prepared, more capable, more marketable for their careers,” YSU President Cynthia Anderson said.

In addition to NASA, Siemens PLM software also has been used by Calloway to design golf clubs and by space exploration company Space X to develop a Falcon rocket and Dragon space capsule.

“Nothing captivated America’s imagination like the space era did. You think about what’s going to happen here in Youngstown in the years to come as a result of what’s happening here today,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson.

The state-of-the-art software utilizes computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing, computer-aided engineering, product data management, and digital manufacturing to manage products all the way from idea, design and manufacturing through service and disposal.

The software also will help prepare students for careers in fields such as robotics design, computer-aided engineering and additive manufacturing, spanning industries such as aerospace, automotive, defense, energy, high-tech electronics, machinery and oil and gas.

Helmuth Ludwig, CEO of Siemens Industry Sector in North America, said the company embraces the new vision of advanced manufacturing, which is a far cry from what it once was.

“We all share in this vision. It’s a different world. It’s not our parents’ or grandparents’ manufacturing. What once took years to develop and engineer now takes weeks,” he said.

President and CEO of Siemens Corp. Eric Spiegel, a Mahoning Valley native and Poland Seminary High School graduate, said he was proud that his company is bringing its innovative software to the Valley and will make a bigger impact in Youngstown.

“Youngstown, the steel industry and manufacturing here are really in my blood,” he said, adding that it is important to close the skills gap in advanced manufacturing in order to prepare for an impending industrial revolution.

U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan called Spiegel a reflection of the community and the Valley’s own hometown guy.

“We have hometown people that have come home and are rebuilding this. Thank you for not forgetting where you came from. It’s going to have a ripple effect throughout our community for years and years to come,” Ryan, D-Niles, said.

“We’re not done. This is just the beginning. We are going to lead the next industrial revolution, which is going to start with advanced manufacturing,” Ryan said.

Youngstown Schools Superintendent Connie Hathorn called the donation of the advanced software a great step forward.

“It’s just going to embrace the things that we do in the schools. I’m hoping that Youngstown City Schools will provide the skills needed for the work force to bring industry back to the Valley,” he said.

Martin Abraham, YSU’s STEM dean, said the software will be integrated throughout the curriculum, with one of the first steps to be utilizing PLM to develop workforce training for the new National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in downtown.

“This is the future. This is what our kids really need,” Ryan said.