YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A partnership between Youngstown State University, the University of Northern Iowa and the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining will leverage $10 million in federal funds to increase the number of small-to-midsize enterprises using advanced technologies.
The grant, announced April 19, would also bolster critical areas of the defense manufacturing supply chain and create jobs, stakeholders say.
The partnership would provide hundreds of businesses with support to remove barriers to adopting Industry 4.0 technologies, enabling a faster output of parts while expanding and strengthening the supply chain. Those technologies include robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing.
“Implementation of Industry 4.0 practices in advanced manufacturing is a crucial element for maintaining a strong defense industrial base,” said Randy Gilmore, vice president and chief development officer at NCDMM.
The initiative is designed to address challenges manufacturers face in adopting Industry 4.0 technologies. Among them are workforce shortages and prohibitive costs that cause manufacturers to forgo upgrading to the new technologies.
Project funding allows UNI and YSU to expand outreach to small-to-midsize employers and provide industry-tailored training in automation, robotics and Industry 4.0 topics. It would also provide services to help manufacturers adopt new technologies.
Jackie Ruller, director of advanced manufacturing research and commercialization at YSU, said the partnership would leverage resources such as YSU’s Excellence Training Center at Kohli Hall.
“We will be working with small- to medium-size businesses throughout the Midwest and East Coast to increase adoption of Industry 4.0 through research, commercialization and new workforce training solutions,” she said.