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Flexware Innovation Collaborates with Purdue University

Flexware Innovation, a Hitachi Group company, has joined several technology and manufacturing leaders to assist Purdue University in developing its Smart Learning Factory, a manufacturing facility for students.

This innovative facility, located on the West Lafayette campus, is designed to simulate today's and tomorrow's manufacturing environment. Polytechnic students, along with engineering collaborators, will have opportunities for direct experience in the intersection of information technology (IT), operational technology (OT) and manufacturing engineering. The first comprehensive smart manufacturing lab course is expected to be delivered during the fall 2024 semester.

Flexware Innovation is supporting Purdue's Smart Learning Factory in these ways:

  • Flexware will provide its SparkMES solution, an internally developed Manufacturing Execution System (MES), along with complimentary services to implement the platform. The integration of this platform will enhance the curriculum for undergraduate and graduate students, exposing them to the type of MES systems found in many manufacturing environments. SparkMES is used in a variety of industries including pharmaceuticals, medical device, water/wastewater, automotive and food and beverage and has recently been leveraged by Belden for its manufacturing operations.
  • SparkMES is built on Inductive Automation's Ignition platform. Flexware leveraged its relationships with Purdue University and Inductive Automation to further enhance the Smart Learning Factory. Inductive Automation donated over 60 Ignition software licenses, while Cirrus Link Solutions, a Strategic Partner of Inductive Automation, contributed MQTT modules, which provide a machine-to-machine messaging protocol to Ignition. Additionally, Flexware Innovation will provide scholarships for Core and Gold Ignition certifications to students.

"We were looking for all the features that SparkMES offers. The flexibility, the fact that it can evolve, grow and be agile just like our manufacturing process can. SparkMES will allow our students to configure, develop, test, operate and monitor our new Smart Factory systems," said Tim Updike, Operations Director at Purdue's Polytechnic Institute, when explaining how SparkMES will complement the factory.

Scott Whitlock, President and CEO of Flexware, added, "We know first-hand the importance of knowledgeable graduates. Having a lab like this will expose students to many of the systems they will find in industry, like MES. And having students learn on Flexware's SparkMES system will expose them not only to a robust MES solution, but to the power and flexibility of Ignition."

It is estimated that more than 1,200 students annually will be exposed to the full suite of technologies that make up the lab.

Inductive Automation's Ignition platform lends itself to labs and projects given its rapid adoption by systems integrators and global manufacturing operations. According to a spokesperson, 57% of Fortune 100 companies use the Ignition platform. Additionally, this collaboration aligns with Inductive Automation's Educational Engagement Program, which actively supports academic institutions and educational opportunities worldwide. Since its start in January 2020, the program has collaborated with over 120 academic institutions, providing free licensing and fostering relationships between academic and industry professionals.

For more information contact:

Flexware Innovation, Inc.

12 Municipal Drive, Ste. 200

Fishers, IN 46038


Purdue University

610 Purdue Mall

West Lafayette, IN 47907


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