Game Changer

When Gannon University announced an in-kind product lifecycle management software grant from Siemens, September 13, Walter Iwanenko, Ph.D., vice president of academic affairs, said, “It is no exaggeration to say that the grant that we will announce today may well herald a new renaissance in manufacturing, not only in Erie, but across the globe. It is that significant.” 

If nothing else, the size of the grant, which has an estimated commercial value of $373 million, is significant, but so are its implications. Gannon engineering students will have the opportunity to use the same technology that companies worldwide depend on to design some of today’s most sophisticated products. 

“This generous grant will give our students an opportunity to develop the kind of software skills that will make them leaders in transforming our economy."

Product lifecycle management (PLM) software goes beyond mere design and simulation. It is the backbone of an information management system that integrates data, processes, business systems and people throughout an enterprise and throughout the entire lifecycle of a product. 

“Siemens is committed to developing the workforce of the future and helping to close the skills gap, and I am very proud that we have partnered with Gannon to expand opportunities for new high-tech, digital and advanced-type of manufacturing jobs,” said Anne Cooney ’91, president, Siemens Digital Factory Division, U.S.

Ikechukwu Ohu wth Baxter the Robot

Ikechukwu Ohu, Ph.D., assistant professor of industrial engineering with Baxter the robot.

The software available to students in the industrial and biomedical engineering programs includes FactoryCAD, which enables the creation of intelligent factory models; NX, for computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering; FiberSIM, used for composite designs; Teamcenter portfolio, the world’s most widely used digital lifecycle management software; and Kineo Kite Lab, used for robot simulations.

“Rather than depending on different software packages to do design, modeling and simulation, students can use NX for the entire process,” said Ikechukwu Ohu, Ph.D., assistant professor of industrial engineering. “With FiberSim software, students can define the characteristics of the materials that will be used from a workstation in the industrial engineering lab, before the actual product is made.”

Siemens Press Conference

View a video from the Siemens grant announcement.

The implications for biomedical engineering are especially exciting. 

“We can now use software to take the geometry of a patient from a CT scan and design an implant to fit the prosthetic device to the patient so that it will fit perfectly,” said Davide Piovesan, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering. 

“Siemens software can also be interfaced with current 3D printing technologies so that in the near future implants could be produced directly in the hospital.”

“Gannon University has always been a regional leader in educating the engineers who will build our future,” said Iwanenko. “This generous grant will give our students an opportunity to develop the kind of software skills that will make them leaders in transforming our economy. We are grateful for this partnership with Siemens, which will open a world of possibilities for our students.

Maggie Rutkowski

Maggie Rutkowski, junior industrial engineering major, spent her summer at an internship with The Nassal Company, the world’s leading amusement park design firm that fabricates attractions such as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando.

“In my internship I was able to use software that I learned in the classroom on several projects and applying what I learned enabled me to work on more projects and ultimately to establish myself as a professional,” she said.  

The Siemens announcement can only enhance her skills, she said. “I’m excited to use this software package, which can be applied to many different industries, and also to my own curriculum to do some project-based learning. It’s an edge up.”