The Ultimate Tool

The ultimate tool

Technology transfer program will use supercomputer to aid manufacturers


UW-Stout's widely recognized manufacturing technology transfer program has received the "ultimate tool," with the announced purchase of a Cray supercomputer.

The J-916 computer is being purchased through a partnership between Stout and Phillips Plastics Corporation, Chippewa Valley Technical College, Cray Research and the Wisconsin Department of Development. DOD has awarded the university an initial grant of $500,000, Phillips will provide an additional $100,000 in support, and Cray Research has pledged a product discount and technical assistance.

The unit will be housed in the Stout Technology Park at the Origen Center, a research and development facility owned by the Origen Group, an affiliate of Phillips Plastics. The computer will be used to serve small to midsize manufacturers in product design analysis and manufacturing problem-solving simulations. It will be linked to the Stout campus where it will be used by students and faculty in programs such as manufacturing engineering, applied math, and physics.

"This is symbolic," said Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen. "It shows that a school our size can be in the forefront of manufacturing technology, that business doesn't have to look to the big, major universities." The chancellor pointed out that the acquisition supports the university's long-standing technology transfer program, through which dozens of small companies have been assisted in re-tooling with the latest manufacturing technology.

Bob Cervenka, CEO at Phillips, said at a press conference announcing the purchase, that the computer is "the ultimate tool" for simulated manufacturing processes. He noted that the Cray computer could do in five minutes what would take other computer systems up to 27 hours to do.

During the next five years, about 450 companies are expected to be served through the computer. The project will leverage more than $5 million in private and other public funds.

Outlook Fall '95