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Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Breaks Ground On Research Facility At Purdue

The 100,000 square foot Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories facility at Purdue's Discovery Park will bring more than 300 jobs to the area. (Samantha Horton/IPB News)

Electric power company Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) broke ground Friday afternoon for the newest addition to Purdue University’s Discovery Park.

The 100,000 square foot facility will bring more than 300 jobs to the area. SEL says the international company aims to create safe electrical power that’s more reliable and economical.

Purdue alumnus and SEL President Ed Schweitzer explains one of the things his company does.

“Lightning will cause the electrical faults on the transmission systems and one of the things we do is we detect that and isolate the parts of the system that are affected by it, switching it out momentarily and then putting it back,” says Schweitzer. “And we’re able to do this through our research. It used to take 20 milliseconds and now we’re doing it in 1 or 2 milliseconds using traveling wave technology.

Schweitzer says taxpayer dollars won’t be used to build the facility.

“One thing we’re really proud of is that we didn’t ask for any subsidies and we’re using employee owners money to purchase the land and build the building and using our personal money for endowing the professorship and the power program,” he says.

This development is a part of the university’s $1 billion plan to create a multi-use area where people work and live. Purdue President Mitch Daniels says he hope this investment will encourage other businesses to join the district.

“When there is a thriving, I predict, nationally recognized innovation district around Purdue University, we’ll all be able to remember and say, ‘Oh I was there on the day it started,’” says Daniels.

The announcement comes with Purdue’s 150th celebration.

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