Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

February 15, 2014

Purdue, Chrysler forge next chapter

Carmaker funding seven all-new research projects

Purdue students are arriving in Chrysler Group LLC’s Kokomo plants with ideas on reducing noise vibrations, improving the life of die sets, and new testing methods for welds.

Kokomo-area Chrysler workers are moving the opposite way down Ind. 26, heading to meetings with Purdue faculty and students in West Lafayette.

This week, the company and the university announced the latest installment in an ongoing partnership, a partnership Chrysler is now funding with $1.2 million for seven specific projects.

The projects, aimed at improving manufacturing processes at Kokomo Chrysler plants, come on top of internship and co-op programs for Purdue students at Chrysler Group facilities in Kokomo and worldwide, and distance-education programs for the company’s global employees.

“Turning Purdue’s research and teaching into more and better jobs is the purest form of the land-grant duty to be actively engaged with our state and its economy,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a release Wednesday. “We are excited about the new Chrysler relationship and see it as a prototype for many such partnerships to come.”

Internships, faculty visits to plants, visits by Chrysler employees to West Lafayette, and serious high-end research are all expected to be facets of the partnership as it continues to unfold.

Purdue’s colleges of engineering and technology, and faculty from the colleges of science, agriculture and the Krannert School of Management have all participated in laying the groundwork for the program, which Purdue officials say is well underway.

The big announcement this week centered around Chrysler’s investment in the specific research projects, which bear titles such as “High Pressure Die Cast Process Optimization” and “Laser Cladding and Surface Treatment for Increased Die Life.” Purdue faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students are already hard at work on each project, laboring alongside Chrysler plant staff.

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