Vadxx Energy, a client of The Incubator at MAGNET, has been racking up media attention recently. The company’s innovative process produces synthetic crude oil from recycled plastic via a process called thermal depolymerization. Vadxx partnered with the MAGNET Product Design & Development group to finalize engineering and design of the intake system for its commercial production unit. In June, Vadxx and Houston-based Greenstar Recycling announced a joint venture to serve Greenstar’s municipal customers by converting recycled plastics into into synthetic crude oil. (Here’s the June 24, 2011 press release.) The previous week, Greenstar won a contract with the City of Akron to build a single-stream recycling processing facility in the city, in partnership with Vadxx Energy. On the heels of that announcement, the Cleveland ABC affiliate, NewsNet 5, ran a video report, including an interview with Vadxx Chief Technology Officer, Bill Ulom. (See "Akron could create hundreds of jobs with new recycling technology," ABC NewsNet 5, June 16, 2011) That coverage caught the attention of Mark Schmit, a Director with the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership team in Washington, D.C. Today, Schmit published a thoughtful blog post tracing Vadxx Energy’s evolution. In his August 31st post to the NIST MEP blog,
For the past ten years or more, we have been "warned" about the coming skills gap crisis in our country. Researchers and economists have provided data that indicate that we will have hundreds of jobs going unfilled while hundreds of people are looking for work. The recent recession caused many to discount this warning due to the large number of people who lost their jobs, particularly in manufacturing. However, the reality of the skills gap is now starting to emerge and is looming on the horizon as we continue to observe the number of "baby boomers" leaving the workforce. The manufacturing industry and its often higher paying jobs is leading the way in the economic come back, it is also on the leading edge of the skilled worker retirements. Many of the job seekers do not have the skills needed to participate in modern advanced manufacturing. Some lack a work ethic and understanding of the work environment, others lack the basic academic skills, as well as the technical, math, and science needed to design and manufacture all kinds of products and parts. Our returning veterans represent one source to fill the skills gap. An analysis of the knowledge and skills
Entrepreneur Tom Lix has a "big idea": a completely new and dramatically faster way to mature distilled spirits. But to attract venture capital to his startup, he needed to prove the concept. The Incubator at MAGNET helped Lix tap into a host of resources, including the engineers at MAGNET’s Product Design & Development group. Find out how Cleveland Whiskey’s computerized test laboratory went from sketches on a piece of scratch paper to reality in less than a year. Read all the stories in the Summer 2012 issue of MAGNET Roundup here.
Are you a technology entrepreneur ready to make the move into an incubator? Check out the picture below of one of our premium spaces that is currently available at The Incubator at MAGNET near downtown Cleveland. This room is roughly 800 square feet with large windows on two of walls, facing north and east. Bright, open and furnished, the room is available for immediate occupancy. Contact davey.crain, (216) 432-5310, if you are interested.
The House Appropriations Committee’s FY2012 budget appropriations bill passed out of committee on July 13 shows strong support for reviving manufacturing and helping small manufacturers and entrepreneurs gain access to loans to spur innovation. The Committee has increased funding for programs focused on innovation, and "reshoring"—a new verb for bringing manufacturing back home. The vote to fund programs like the National Innovation Marketplace, the new Innovative Manufacturing Loans, and the Repatriation Initiative are an acknowledgement that many manufacturing jobs which migrated overseas were not all low-skilled, dead-end mindless jobs. Many of the lost jobs require advanced training and skills in operating and maintaining very complex machinery. We need those jobs to come back to the U.S. so the creativity and ingenuity doesn’t disappear along with the technical know-how. Small manufacturers are especially aware that ideas for new products and process improvement often go hand-in-hand with production where processes are tested and innovation is born. Innovation and know-how depend on understanding how things work and making them work better, faster, safer, and with less energy consumption. That can happen in a research laboratory or in the neighbor’s garage, but my experience says a lot more of it happens in places where making
MAGNET invites Northeast Ohio manufacturers to participate in a short survey (approximately 10 min.) about your organization’s role within the advanced energy industry. Whether you work directly or indirectly with the advanced energy industry, MAGNET and NorTech would greatly appreciate your participation. The survey should be filled out by an individual in your organization who is involved with and/or knowledgeable about the strategy development of your organization. NorTech has a mission to develop a thriving advanced energy cluster within Northeast Ohio. To accomplish this mission, NorTech is compiling metrics about the scope, scale and growth of the advanced-energy industry in the region. The organization plans to share a summary of the data with all participants. Data collected through this survey will be used in aggregate to report metrics about the advanced energy industry in the region. Individual responses will not be publicized without participants’ consent. For more information, see the survey invite, or contact: Ashley Sparks, voice: (216) 363-6896.