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rolls-royce purdue

Rolls-Royce to open new research facility in US

rolls-royce purdue
Rolls-Royce will house an R&D group for its jet engine component research in a 40,000-square-foot facility in the Purdue Research Park Aerospace District in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Purdue Research Park image)

Rolls-Royce is to open a new research and development centre in the US. The company formally received the keys to the 55,000-square-foot facility in the Purdue Research Park Aerospace District in West Lafayette. 

Purdue Research Foundation and Rolls-Royce are scheduled to celebrate the building’s opening late March.

David Waggoner, head of programs, customer and operations, control systems in North America for Rolls-Royce, says: “This facility is a great opportunity for us to create something unique to North America but also unique to Indiana, and allow us to strengthen our partnership with Purdue. 

rolls-royce purdue
Dan Hasler, president and chief entrepreneurial officer of the Purdue Research Foundation, hands over the keys to the first Purdue Research Park Aerospace District facility to David Waggoner, head of programs, customer and operations in North America for Rolls-Royce Control Systems. Also pictured, from left, is Jeremy Slater, project manager of architecture and engineering at PRF; Kyle Jagger, technical lead at Rolls-Royce Controls and Data Services; and Brad Swearingen, director of controls engineering in North America for Rolls-Royce. The facility will officially open on March 24, 2017. (Purdue Research Foundation image)

“Given the unique dynamic of Rolls-Royce developing a rig in parallel with Purdue Research Foundation building the facility, it’s amazing how well the construction has gone. PRF has done a great job keeping it moving and on schedule. We’ve officially accepted the facility and we’re excited to start moving in.”

Rolls-Royce is the first company to partner with the Purdue Research Foundation in the Purdue Research Park Aerospace District.

The Purdue Technology Center Aerospace building within the district will house some of Rolls-Royce’s R&D activities.

The project is part of the $1 billion Purdue Innovation District, a partnership between the Purdue Research Foundation and Browning Investments to create an environment for educational, economic, cultural, community and real estate while developing 450 acres at the west end of the Purdue University campus.

Brad Swearingen, director of controls engineering in North America for Rolls-Royce, says: “Besides research and development, this facility presents a fantastic opportunity to look at alternative fuels and other potential use cases around fuel pump capabilities.

“We also plan to utilize the facility for qualification ability to really change the game for our North America business by moving test capabilities internally.”

Waggoner adds: “There are three key things that will be going on in this facility: new builds, development and testing, and repair and overall of field returns.”

The new research facility will further assist Rolls-Royce in:

  • Designing, developing and testing of jet engine components.
  • Collaborating with Purdue researchers through corporate partnerships.
  • Recruiting future talent of Purdue student interns and graduates.

Kyle Jaggers, technical lead, control systems for Rolls-Royce, says: “This facility presents a lot of opportunity, including giving us an even stronger presence and name recognition with students on Purdue’s campus.

“During the most recent Industrial Roundtable career fair at Purdue there was a great sense of interest among students about the new facility, so I look forward to seeing that interest strengthen and see opportunities for Purdue students and alum come to fruition.”

The facility is also open to other companies interested in aerospace and aviation development.

Dan Hasler, Purdue Research Foundation’s president and chief entrepreneurial officer, says: “Rolls-Royce is a world-class enterprise and exactly the type of company that the new aerospace district is designed to serve.

“Since Rolls-Royce will occupy 60 percent of the 55,000 square-foot building we’re excited to offer the additional space to other companies who may be interested in partnering with Rolls-Royce or Purdue on research and development opportunities in the aerospace and aviation market.”

The Purdue Research Park Aerospace District opened in 2015 and encompasses the Purdue University Airport, Purdue Aviation (formerly Lafayette Aviation), Mach 6 Quiet Flow Ludwieg Tube Wind Tunnel and the Maurice J Zucrow Laboratories.

The site has been named an Indiana Certified Technology Park by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.