High-Tech Education for Companies

High-Tech Education for Companies

The state of Indiana has a new trick up its sleeve regarding economic development. A new smart manufacturing center has been established where companies can come to learn about high-tech manufacturing innovations. As more companies get equipped with new capabilities, we could be set to see business grow in interesting new ways.


New Smart Manufacturing Center 

The new smart manufacturing center is going to be called the Emerging Manufacturing Collaboration Center (EMC2). It’s due to open by mid-summer this year at the 16 Tech Innovation District in the Riverside area of Indianapolis.

The $3 million in funding for this facility was approved through the state’s 21st Century Research & Technology Fund, which makes direct investments into Indiana startups and supports public-private partnerships to advance technology development and commercialization.

EMC2 will allow startup and existing manufacturers to utilize state-of-the-art equipment to train employees, conduct third-party pilot manufacturing, and increase awareness of products and software applications. Key focuses will be centered on things like additive manufacturing, factory automation, advanced software development, and manufacturing readiness.


What Can Companies Learn?

Companies can come to EMC2 to learn a range of things, from general advanced manufacturing topics to highly specific training. It’s all about exposing companies to new developments that could enhance their way of operating.

“At EMC2, manufacturers and startups will have the opportunity to increase their awareness of the emerging technologies disrupting the industry. For example, additive manufacturing/3-D printing, automation, cobots, etc. The training will be focused on companies who are currently or will be equipping their employees with the skills to operate equipment and machinery related to smart manufacturing,” said Zach Weismiller, Communications Manager with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.


High-Tech Stuff

One of the big features about the new center is the inclusion of GE Additive’s Binder Jet technology.

According to GE Additive, binder jetting is a family of 3-D printing technologies. With binder jetting, a print head moves across a bed of powder and deposits a liquid binding agent in the shape of a section to be built. This bonds these areas together to form parts, one layer at a time. When complete, the bound parts are removed from the unbound powder.

Long story short, this tech will enable companies to make new parts and components easily. Materials commonly used in binder jetting are things like metals, ceramics, and sand.

“Binder jet is one of the most dynamic areas within additive manufacturing today, and one that the automotive and mobility industry in particular is watching closely,” said GE Additive Chief Technology Officer Christine Furstoss. “Given Indiana’s strong automotive manufacturing focus, we have high hopes that this partnership will tap into its abundant seam of innovation and spark new forward-thinking applications – especially in fields of automation and software development.”


Mutually Beneficial

This new center is also going to be mutually beneficial for GE Additive as well. Company officials commented that letting industry partners experiment with the tech will enable GE Additive to refine their binder jetting further.

“Collaboration with industry sits at the very core of our strategy,” said GE Additive Innovation Leader Josh Mook. “We deliberately set out to identify a select group of strategic partners that could help us develop a real-world solution. It’s critically important that when we bring our solution to market it can deliver value from day one.”

“Our beta partnership program is already paying dividends in many ways,” Mook said. “We’re now looking to extend that industry collaboration. Through the R&D partnership with the state, we’ll create a test bed to work with partners, customers, startups, and small-and-medium enterprises in Indiana and further afield to develop additive-centric innovation and real-world solutions.”


Not the Last You’ll Hear

Equipping Indiana manufacturers with new tools is likely to be a very positive thing for the state. As more firms begin adopting the new tech advancements, they’re sure to come up with new ways of using it that no one has conceptualized yet. This new endeavor is planting seeds today that we’re all going to be learning about for a long time.

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