Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus Opens Opportunities in Aerospace Manufacturing

Did you know that Wichita has the highest concentration of aerospace manufacturing in the United States? It is ranked first for industry-funded aerospace R&D, at $31 million, and 4th in total aerospace R&D expenditure at $45 million.

The Innovation Campus at Wichita State University (WSU) is attracting leading global companies to the area, which is opening up even more opportunities for aerospace manufacturing. Airbus Engineering and Dassault Systèmes have partnered with WSU and are making use of their facilities such as research labs and collaboration rooms. It is a great opportunity for collaboration between researchers and industry. It allows students to work on real-world projects and helps them to transition into the workforce by training them for future advanced manufacturing and other new jobs.

The first student-run project involved developing an unmanned search-and-rescue aerial system. The team aimed high, and wanted to reduce the average production cycle (i.e. from idea to working prototype) from 2-5 years to just 90 days. The team delivered the product in nine months, which was still a great improvement over the average production timespan.

Digital testing is an important part of the innovation process, involving processes such as simulation and advanced Finite Element Analysis. It is estimated that for every dollar spent on digital testing, seven dollars are saved on physical testing. The 3DEXPERIENCE Centre on the Innovation Campus focuses on increasing the speed of virtual product development and innovation with 3D design software, digital mock-ups and produce lifecycle management solutions. It will be exciting to see the new aerospace developments that come out of WSU in the near future.

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