UB-Based SPIR Program Awards Grant to Graphic Controls Corporation

By Mara McGinnis

Release Date: April 8, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A $10,350 grant from the Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence (SPIR) program based in the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has been awarded to the Graphic Controls Corporation for a design project for its new manufacturing facility.

Graphic Controls, which manufactures and markets a variety of disposable medical products and industrial recording supplies, is currently located on Van Rensselaer Street in Buffalo. In November, the corporation announced its plan to stay in the Buffalo area after being heavily sought after by other communities.

Graphic Controls will renovate the 75,000 square foot former IBM office building on La Riviere Drive along the waterfront for the corporate headquarters. A new 240,000 square foot facility to house the manufacturing operation will be built on Exchange Street between Louisiana and Alabama streets.

The relocation and transition to a single-story configuration, as well as a proposed cellular design for the plant layout, will allow for more efficient manufacturing. UB faculty members, students and technically trained personnel in UB's engineering school conducted a facility-design computer simulation study to validate and improve the initial layout to establish the most efficient arrangement for the Exchange Street facility.

The SPIR program, established in 1994 by the State of New York, provides funding to qualifying manufacturing companies to add research and development support and technical expertise through the engineering school, including new-product development, redesign or enhancement of products and process improvement.

Western New York retained more than 1,000 manufacturing jobs and created more than 800 new ones during the 1996-97 fiscal year as a result of SPIR's efforts. The local arm of SPIR is part of a statewide effort to help create and retain manufacturing jobs at small to medium-sized companies.

Grants from SPIR cover up to 50 percent of a project's cost for accessing the UB engineering faculty, students and other technically trained personnel and the sophisticated research facilities available at UB.

Applications from Western New York companies are accepted on an ongoing basis by the Center for Industrial Effectiveness, a program of the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences that is affiliated with the UB School of Management and assists local industry in efforts to improve competitiveness and productivity.