Engineering simulation software company Ansys Inc. is teaming with Carnegie Mellon University to create a teaching, design and build laboratory for students.

Canonsburg-based Ansys will help build a three-story, 30,000-square-foot student laboratory on the Oakland campus with groundbreaking scheduled for fall and completion anticipated in 2018. The cost of the building was not disclosed, but Ansys and university officials hope the lecture and fabrication hall will expand opportunities for collaboration and allow students to try out the latest materials and designs.

“There is a huge market for innovation,” Ansys President and CEO James Cashman said. “All these tools will allow people to do ‘what if.’”

Academic fellowships, research and new facilities are among the ways industry has supported educational programs at CMU and universities nationwide. In 2004, for example, a $10 million gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation helped CMU build the $50 million Gates Center for Computer Science, and Microsoft is among the university’s top corporate sponsors of faculty and student fellowships and research grants.

The new Ansys building will be located between Hammerschlag and Porter halls off Frew Street and the partnership is expected to expand in the future, Mr. Garrett said.

Plans for the new building call for an 11,000-square-foot nanofabrication clean room to be used to manipulate matter on an atomic and molecular scale. It will also have full-size manufacturing capability for such projects as a student-built race car or solar-powered boat, according to James Garrett, dean of CMU’s College of Engineering.

The hall will allow the university to consolidate engineering and teaching facilities from around campus, with open-space labs designed to enhance collaboration.

“This is going to help our students in transformational ways,” Mr. Garrett said. “This will lead to a much richer relationship between students and the company.”

Digitization has been revolutionizing manufacturing, driven by a rise in data volumes, computational power and easy access to the Internet, according to a 2015 report by management consultant McKinsey & Co.

Industry 4.0 is the term coined to describe the new world of manufacturing, which offers private industry greater use of analytics in design and decision making along with opportunities to lower energy consumption with smart, highly mechanized factories.

Ansys markets a portfolio of simulation tools that accelerate the time needed to bring a product to market. The new hall is expected to allow both CMU and the company to better prepare students for the rapid changes underway in engineering, design and fabrication.

The new hall will be open to all CMU students and Ansys’ engineering design software will be widely available. In addition, Ansys will staff the hall with a resident employee to help with questions and aid in collaborative ventures.

Ansys was founded in 1970 and employs about 3,000 people. CMU’s College of Engineering focuses on cross-disciplinary collaboration in research.

The Ansys-CMU partnership was born about a year ago, when Mr. Garrett, 55, met Mr. Cashman, 62, for the first time at a Pittsburgh Technology Council board meeting in Oakland.

“Boy, we should be doing a lot more together,” Mr. Garrett remembered Mr. Cashman saying during a break. “We immediately hit it off,” Mr. Garrett said.

“I told him I couldn’t agree more,” Mr. Garrett said. “This is a long-term vision and partnership.”

Mr. Cashman said he was “still a little bit stunned at the pace of things since then.”

Read the original publication here.