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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

Youngstown State opens new advanced manufacturing center to train students and support companies


By David Schwartz
Published: August 3rd, 2021

Youngstown State University has cut the ribbons on its new Excellence Training Center, which will serve to train students in advanced manufacturing as well as provide services, research, and talent for industry.

“I think that’s going to have a lot more impact than people know,” said YSU President Jim Tressel of the $12 million facility. “It’s going to be about little kids dreaming of working in a place like this all the way to inventing something that could change the world.”

The center is a partnership between YSU, Eastern Gateway Community College, America Makes, the Youngstown Business Incubator, Youngstown City Schools, and the career and technical centers of Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana counties. Companies such as Fanuc and Rockwell Automation are likely to play a role in the center’s future, Tressel said. Local business may also use the center as a laboratory to train employees, solve problems, or experiment with new product prototypes or materials, he added.

One Ohio company is already planning to take advance of the center’s capabilities. “We’re going to take our molds … and bring them here,” said Mark Lamoncha, president of Humtown Products in Columbiana. The company has been using additive manufacturing technology to perfect the production of sand molds used in foundries. Now, Humtown will transport its 3D-printed sand molds from new center, which will pour molten metal into the molds to create new components. 

But Humtown’s work with the center is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. “We’re reaching out to other industry partners to do R&D,” said David Sipusic, executive director and YSU associate general counsel for research. “We’re meeting regularly with companies on how they can take our equipment and do their own research here.”

The 54,000-square-foot center features a robotics lab, CNC machining, 3D printing, metrology and other resources.

For students, the center represents new opportunities as well. “We’re trying to cover a wide variety of advanced manufacturing,” Sipusic said, including industrial maintenance, CNC and traditional machining, additive manufacturing, robotics, and automation. “The learners are not just degree students, they’re also non-degree students — adult learners who are looking for another pathway or to upskill their current job.” Students will get opportunities to work alongside faculty in private sector projects, he added.

Eastern Gateway President Michael Geoghegan said the new center fits squarely with the community college’s mission and vision. “This is going to give students opportunities they never had — with all of the state-of-the art equipment here,” he said. “These are all skills that are in high demand,” adding that the community college offer “eight industry credentials just in machining.” 

Tressel stressed that the center’s opening is just the start, and there’s plenty of challenges ahead. 

“Now, we have to go prove that what we said could happen if we built this will happen,” he said.  “The end game is strengthening the workforce, helping people get excited about the future of manufacturing, helping people to be upwardly mobile, all the way to creating research that could change the world.”

Source: Business Journal

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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