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Greenville Business Magazine

AVX Fuels Next Generation Of Clemson Vehicle Prototyping Through Deep Orange

Photo: The AVX Lab will be located at the CU-ICAR campus in Greenville.

South Carolina-based global electronic components company AVX Corporation will fuel the next chapter of Clemson University’s flagship vehicle prototype program Deep Orange with new equipment and lab space at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.

The 9,000-square-foot lab – named the AVX Mobility Systems Innovation Lab – will include two collaborative innovation studios, expanded prototyping capabilities, and state-of-the-art engineering equipment in the Center for Emerging Technologies at CU-ICAR in Greenville. Capabilities include a new two-post lift; high-powered metal and tungsten inert gas-welding capabilities; and painting and composites equipment to help students design, engineer, build, and validate their vehicle prototypes from the ground up.

“With the electrification of vehicles and further, sustainable mobility solutions, we see support of Deep Orange vehicle prototyping as a natural fit for AVX,” said Jeff Schmersal, chief operating officer of AVX Corporation. “The graduate students have fantastic ideas regarding the design and function of future automobiles and we are excited to provide the equipment and space needed to bring those ideas to reality.”

The lab builds on the success of the Deep Orange program, now in its 11th year. As part of their master’s in automotive engineering, Deep Orange students gain hands-on experience through project-based learning focused on systems integration and innovation by building a vehicle concept from the ground up. These students work directly with industry partners to address real-world problems related to sustainable mobility, as well as current and future social trends.

“Our goal with Deep Orange is to educate the next generation of engineering leaders with technical and collaborative tools to develop solutions to tomorrow’s mobility challenges,” said Chris Paredis, BMW endowed chair in automotive systems integration and Deep Orange program director. “The state-of-the-art equipment and collaborative spaces in this lab open up possibilities for innovation that we simply didn’t have before.”

The new lab makes it possible for both concurrent Deep Orange teams to be located in the same lab space, allowing them to share and learn from each other during the program. Students from Deep Orange 10 and 11 will be the first to take advantage of the lab, which will be home to the program going forward.

“For the first time in our program’s history, our students can work and learn alongside each other across different cohorts. Such sharing of knowledge and ideas will accelerate the education, engineering and innovation process that will fuel the next decade of Deep Orange,” said Paredis. “With a program as rapid and all-encompassing as ours, this type of cross-collaboration is invaluable when it comes to shaping the engineering leaders we want to develop.”

“AVX and Clemson have a longstanding, multifaceted partnership that speaks volumes about what the company thinks of our talented students and faculty,“ said Zoran Filipi, chair of the automotive engineering department. “CU-ICAR is on the cutting edge in terms of preparing our students for tomorrow’s automotive careers, and we are grateful for AVX Corporation’s generous contribution.”

This partnership was developed through Clemson’s Office of Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives. AVX Corporation is a strategic corporate partner of the university and the AVX lab is the newest addition to CU-ICAR’s innovation ecosystem and will be surrounded by 20-plus global campus partners.

“Our global reputation is a direct result of successful strategic partnerships with industry leaders. Collaborations with companies such as AVX show the breadth and depth these partnerships can attain,” said Jack Ellenberg, associate vice president for the Office of Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives. “From OEMs to suppliers and beyond, our team’s success is directly tied to our ability to support our partners and support South Carolina.”