UC and P&G collaborate on ground-breaking computer simulation center

Thanks to the University of Cincinnati's Simulation Center (UCSC), engineering for Procter and Gamble (P&G) has gone virtual.

And it's win-win. 

UC students get experience working with P&G engineers.  P&G solves design problems on more cost and time effective virtual terrain.  And participating students serve as a readymade talent pipeline for P&G.

“In the physical world, they’re at UC, but in the virtual world, they’re at P&G,” says Don Bretl, P&G's operations manager of the UCSC.

Virtual modeling is a growing trend in various industries, in which the tradition model – physically creating a prototype, testing it and then modifying it in the real world – is increasingly obsolete.

Corporations like Toyota, Mercedes and Ford are also catching onto the advantages of digital modeling, in which prototypes are conceived and tested on computers.  Then, if the virtual shoe fits, a physical one can be made.

“Our motto is to explore digitally and confirm physically,” says Bretl.

UC and P&G based much of the model for the UCSC on Catepillar Inc.'s partnership with the University of Illinois, and the resultant Champagne Simulation Center.

The pre-existing Master Alliance Agreement between UC and P&G, and UC's status as a PACE (Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education) university made the decision an easy one.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” says Professor Teik C. Lim, head of UC's Mechanical Engineering Department.  “You tap into the creativity of the students — ‘8 to 5’ is gone. The students can come and go as they please. Whatever hours of the day work best for them — they are not constrained by when the P&G office is open."

Ultimately, Lim adds, "students graduating with these simulation skills are very attractive to P&G.”

Writer:  Jonathan DeHart
Source:  University of Cincinnati, Procter and Gamble
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