The company gave UofL’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering a suite of product lifecycle management (PLM) software that aids in design, lifecycle management and manufacturing and will allow students to see how design, simulation, tooling, manufacturing and disposal are connected and interdependent. The software has a commercial value of $427 million.

“This is a generous gift from Siemens PLM Software,” said UofL President James Ramsey at the Sept. 4 announcement, noting that it will give UofL students real-world experience while they still are in college.

Students are looking forward to using the software and have some practical applications in mind – the Baja racing team’s vehicle and small rockets students develop for competitions.

Mechanical engineering senior Alex Bays said the Baja racing team will benefit especially from the ergonomics and improved simulation software that will be available.

“We’re really looking forward to putting a driver in the car and seeing what he’s seeing” in the simulations, he said.

Before, the team had to build models and test with dummy drivers, said Brad Cottrell, a mechanical engineering graduate student. The team also plans to use the software tools for mold-making techniques to craft lighter parts than were possible before, he said.

Bays and Cottrell said their college experience with the varied software should help with their future jobs.

“We have access to a lot of software tools,” Bays said. “That makes us marketable to other industries.”

Siemens PLM Software provides software to more than 1 million students annually at every academic level.

Other institutions that have partnered with Siemens PLM Software include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California at Berkeley, Virginia Tech and Auburn University. Industry users include automotive, aerospace, machinery, shipbuilding and high-tech electronics.