SPIR Awards Grants to Six Western New York Firms

Release Date: May 7, 1998

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The local branch of the Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence (SPIR), based in the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has awarded grants to six Western New York companies.

The SPIR program is designed to help create and retain manufacturing jobs at small and medium-sized companies in New York State.

Through the UB program and similar ones at the SUNY university centers at Binghamton and Stony Brook, and the SUNY College at New Paltz, SPIR aims to bolster the state economy by promoting the transfer of knowledge from university to industry and providing consultation, research facilities and resources for industrial restructuring.

Funded by New York State, the SPIR grants will cover up to 50 percent of a project's cost for hiring faculty members, students and other technically trained personnel and fees for using sophisticated research facilities, such as those available at UB.

• Buffalo Brake Beam of Lackawanna, a manufacturer of brake beams for the automotive industry, has received a $5,465 grant to assist in assessing workforce skills and productivity. With this effort, Buffalo Brake Beam hopes to retain 27 jobs and increase sales by 15 percent during the next three years.

• Solid Surface Acrylics, Inc. of North Tonawanda, a manufacturer of solid-surface tabletops, components and cutting boards, has received a $638 grant to assist in performing an operational assessment of its manufacturing process. With this effort, Solid Surface Acrylics hopes to expand employment by 15 people and increase sales by more than 200 percent during the next three years.

• Peerless Winsmith, Inc. of Springville, original equipment manufacturers and industrial distributors, has received a $675 grant to assist in a Cycle Time Reduction interactive workshop. With this effort, Peerless Winsmith hopes to increase sales and employment by reducing the set-up costs involved in its assembly operations.

• McKenica Corp. of Buffalo, a manufacturer of machinery and tooling for thin-wall tubing applications, has received a $1,181 grant to assess its current quality system against QS 9000 requirements. McKenica views the project as critical for remaining competitive and retaining its workforce.

• Buffalo Pumps, Inc. of North Tonawanda, a manufacturer of centrifugal pumps, has received a $10,019 grant to assist with a research-and-development project to improve existing pump design. With this effort, Buffalo Pumps hopes to increase employment by eight people and increase sales by $4 million a year during the next three years.

• Kristal Systems, Inc. of Amherst, a manufacturer of force plates, instrumented treadmills and data-analysis software, has received a $24,513 grant to assist in the development of a software package that traditionally trained physical therapists and/or clinical technicians can use to diagnose and evaluate patient pathologies. With this effort, Kristal Systems hopes to expand employment by five people and increase sales by $1.2 million during the next three years.

TCIE is a center of the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences that, in cooperation with the UB School of Management, assists local industry in efforts to improve competitiveness and productivity.

TCIE's mission is to motivate and assist industry to develop human resources, introduce and utilize new technologies, improve business practices and modernize products, processes and facilities.

Local firms that would like to apply for SPIR grants should submit applications to The Center for Industrial Effectiveness in the UB Business Alliance, which accepts them on an ongoing basis. For more information, contact Tim Mattulke, SPIR project manager at TCIE, at 636-2568, fax at 636-5921 or e-mail at .

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