Indianapolis-based Hurco Companies Inc. (Nasdaq: HURC) has donated software to the Indiana State University College of Technology. The programs are worth an estimated $500,000. Hurco board member and ISU graduate Richard Porter was instrumental in the agreement and says the technology will push the college “30 years into the future.” February 23, 2015
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State University students will be better prepared for the technology industry thanks to a software donation from Hurco Companies.
Hurco, a CNC (computer numeric control) machines and machine tools manufacturing company founded in Indiana, donated 100 seats of Winmax Desktop Software to the College of Technology. The value of the software is estimated at $500,000.
Richard Porter, a 1977 Indiana State alumnus and president of TE-CO in Ohio, helped get the ball rolling on a partnership between Hurco and Indiana State.
Porter, who has his bachelor's degree in business management from Indiana State and serves on Hurco's board of directors and the Sycamore Athletic Foundation boar, helped secure the gift and build the relationship between Hurco and his alma mater.
Porter spoke with Phil Ness, associate vice president for athletic development with the Indiana State University Foundation, about Hurco's interest in doing outreach with universities and Ness put him in touch with Bob English, dean of the College of Technology.
“I was kind of the matchmaker who got the two parties together,” Porter said. “Bob says he sees a growth in the number of students in the field, but the manufacturing labs were dated with mid-70s and -80s equipment. We've now plunged the college 30 years into the future with this partnership, so they now have 21st century equipment. Students will now get to use the latest technology that will help them when they enter a manufacturing environment.”
Students in three programs – mechanical engineering technology, automation and control engineering technology, and advanced manufacturing management (which will be renamed manufacturing engineering technology) – will benefit from the new software. The three programs combined serve about 300 students.
Students who graduate from the programs will be able to take the software with them, and Hurco has pledged to donate additional seats each year as needed.
“We donated the exact same software that resides in the Winmax CNC (computer numeric control) on the machines we build to cut metal parts, but this software is for offline programming on PC computers” said Hurco sales manager David Plank. “Instead of a machinist using their hands to make parts on manual machines, conversational software allows them to become programmers in a very short time so they can program the machine to make the parts.”
Last year, Plank, who serves on the College of Technology's executive advisory board, helped begin the planning for a partnership between the company and Indiana State that gave way to the software donation. Hurco representatives recently trained college faculty on using the software.
While the software will allow more flexibility for students creating code for the CNC machine to make the parts, it could also benefit faculty and the community, said M. Affan Badar, chair of the department of applied engineering and technology management.
“I hope it will generate more student excitement and enhance the program, while also being a good experience for students to put on their resumes,” he said. “It will also be a tool for faculty who do research in manufacturing process planning. And if there is a local business that doesn't have a good CNC machine, there's potential for them to collaborate with us. It's a win-win situation for everyone.”
The software being donated was originally created to make Hurco's customer base more efficient.
“Machine shops need to write programs without interrupting production,” Plank said. “This software frees up machine or lab time and empowers people to write programs away from the machine as other parts are being worked on because they can access the software wherever they are.”
The software installation is only the first step of the partnership between Indiana State and Hurco, which is also working to replace old CNC machines and install new CNC machines in the College of Technology.
“To be successful, we have to be in touch with young professional coming out of school, so we have long standing relationships with schools that train machine operators, programmers and advanced manufacturing technologists,” Plank said.
The new relationship with Hurco is a fruitful one, not only because of the equipment donation but also the potential it has for workforce development and the expertise it will allow the college to tap into.
“The software will be used to simulate CNC equipment, which is a big deal for us because manufacturing is an area of great growth,” English said.
“According to the Manufacturing Institute, there is approximately an unmet need of 600,000 jobs in that area, so we're trying to do our part and fill that need and gearing up in the area of manufacturing and one important facet of that is CNC equipment, like the software they're giving us that will allow students to learn more about it.”
Experience Indiana State students will gain through use of Hurco software and machines provide a leg up for them when they enter the job market, said Maggie Smith, Hurco marketing director.
“What students will learn with Hurco products will increase they're worth because when they step into any job, they'll be able to run the machine,” she said. “And as a company founded in Indianapolis in 1968, it's important to us to support the next generation of machinist and engineers in our state and relationships like we have with Indiana State are important and beneficial for all of us.”
Source: Indiana State University