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College of Engineering and Computing


Dean Hossein Haj-Hariri meets with members of the media to discuss the new Siemens partnership

Siemens helps UofSC establish the first of its kind, university-based digital factory

On June 22, Siemens and the University of South Carolina announced a partnership that provides the College of Engineering and Computing with an in-kind technology grant worth $628 million for the first university-based Digital Factory Innovation Lab in the college’s McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research.

University President Harris Pastides called the announcement one of the most important days in the modern history of the university.

Our partnership with the University of South Carolina will provide valuable experiential training with both software and hardware, providing the next generation workforce with the skills they need to be successful.

— Raj Batra, president of Siemens Digital Factory Division, U.S.

Thanks to this significant investment from Siemens, engineering students will have a rare opportunity to access the same product lifecycle management (PLM) software that is used by more than 140,000 companies in the global manufacturing industry. Students will also use Siemens automation and controls hardware. This kind of academic partnership will help give students the experience they need as they compete for the high-tech, advanced manufacturing jobs of today and in the future.

“I’m excited for the college and the extraordinary opportunity that is being presented to our students,” says Hossein Haj-Hariri, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. “It’s important for our students to gain hands-on experience with industry-standard software and hardware so that after graduation, they will be well on their way to becoming the skilled, agile engineers needed in many industries. Our graduates will be able to help solve the engineering problems that we haven’t even heard about yet.”

Haj-Hariri believes that an experiential approach to educating students in engineering and computing is essential to the development of critical thinking that graduates need in order to have successful careers. Software and hardware such as those from Siemens develop better context in the college’s curricula to introduce the advanced topics of today’s engineering and computing to students. They also motivate and engage the students in the process of learning the foundational knowledge that underpins the engineering and computing fields of tomorrow.

USC’s McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research, which offers aerospace education, research, outreach and economic engagement for more than 500 aerospace-related companies in S.C., will use Siemens hardware and software for student research projects and industry partnerships. The McNAIR Center has advanced robotics and machine handling capability, and the new digital factory will nicely complement these with a host of Siemens hardware supporting three distinct areas. They include a picker robot for handling applications, a roller picker robot for pick and place applications, and a general-purpose robot controlled by a Siemens Programmable Logic Controller (PLC).

The aerospace industry in S.C. has experienced an 11.4 percent employment growth rate since 2010. The industry also has an annual economic impact of more than $19 billion, according to the S.C. Department of Commerce.

“Our partnership with the University of South Carolina will provide valuable experiential training with both software and hardware, providing the next generation workforce with the skills they need to be successful,” says Raj Batra, president of Siemens Digital Factory Division, U.S. “Siemens is proud of the almost $1 billion in in-kind grants we’ve invested in South Carolina, and through this partnership, we are helping to close the skills gap.”

Here’s the full press release about the Siemens partnership with remarks from USC President Harris Pastides and Governor Henry McMaster.