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Research News

UB to partner with EWI on advanced manufacturing institute

Alex Cartwright

Alexander Cartwright, vice president for research and economic development, speaks at an event to announce the launch of the Advanced Manufacturing Institute. Photo: Douglas Levere

By JOHN DELLACONTRADA

Published February 28, 2014

UB will help accelerate the development of advanced manufacturing technologies in Western New York by lending its expertise and resources to a new advanced manufacturing institute announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as part of the Buffalo Billion initiative.

The institute, operated by nonprofit engineering services research and development company EWI, will support economic development by shaping the future of manufacturing through innovative technology solutions. Through this initiative, businesses will partner with the institute to solve manufacturing and production issues, and develop and commercialize technologies that improve product performance, quality, reliability and cost competitiveness.

UB will partner with EWI to support the institute’s efforts by:

  • Providing institute customers with access to the university’s expertise and technical capabilities.
  • Collaborating on joint events, such as trainings and seminars.
  • Crafting joint proposals for government funding.
  • Partnering on experiential learning opportunities for UB students, such as internships, fellowships and capstone projects.
  • Exploring opportunities to commercialize UB technologies.

At a lecture series yesterday hosted by UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics, speakers — including leadership from the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (REDC), Empire State Development (ESD), UB and EWI — discussed the institute’s launch, technology focus areas and how regional organizations can benefit.

In a separate announcement yesterday, Cuomo said EWI was chosen to operate the Advanced Manufacturing Institute, which will be housed at 847 Main St. The building was purchased by the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) with an $8 million Buffalo Billion grant from ESD. The agreement calls for BNMC to provide, at no cost, space to house EWI for its startup operations. In addition, New York State will invest $45 million of the Buffalo Billion toward machinery, equipment, future facility needs and operations.

Praxair, Sherex Fastening Solutions, The InVentures Group, Harper International and Jiffy-tite Company will be among the institute’s founding members. Technology focus areas will include flexible automation and controls, advanced materials and testing, additive manufacturing and advanced fabrication.

Yesterday’s announcements underscored the importance of collaboration among the institute, UB and local industry — emphasizing the benefits realized by regional companies, organizations and the overall community.

“Research universities are hubs of invention and discovery — institutions whose knowledge and creative energy can be channeled to benefit society,” said President Satish K. Tripathi, co-chair of the Western New York REDC. “With strong research programs in fields from materials science to advanced computing, UB is well-positioned to support the new institute’s mission. We will play an integral role in partnering with the institute and its founding companies to develop new manufacturing methods, innovative new materials and new testing technologies to spur growth of high-tech manufacturing in Western New York.”

Alexander Cartwright, vice president for research and economic development, noted that with the REDC’s support, “EWI worked with local industry for months to ensure that the institute will meet the needs that businesses have today and equip them for the challenges they will face tomorrow. Implementing a shared vision for a revived manufacturing base in Western New York carves a path for long-term collaboration and synergies to boost our economic impact.”

The institute will enable new product and process development with particular emphasis on the region’s growth sectors, such as advanced manufacturing, machinery, food processing, chemicals, medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

“This initiative will allow us to build world-class capacity in Western New York for EWI customers here and around the world,” said Henry Cialone, president and CEO of EWI. “The strategy to accelerate the growth of specialized manufacturing subsectors will provide Western New York with a competitive advantage.”

Added EWI project manager Steve Levesque, who recently was named operations manager for the advanced manufacturing institute: “We’re excited to be in Buffalo. We are pleased to offer a range of services that capitalize on the region’s existing resources and expertise.”