Two new startups recently moved into The Incubator at MAGNET: Motion Resolution and Real Time Imaging. Motion Resolution is working on a new pedal design for high-end cyclists. Early tests have shown a dramatic increase in efficiency using the new design, so much so that one of the Ride Across America team members has volunteered to test the pedal during the event. Real Time Imaging aims to simplify dental procedures by making them easier, safer and more efficient to perform through an innovative real-time imaging technology via the miniaturization of the medical fluoroscope. Check out their website for brief overview of their product. I wish both companies the best of luck and look forward to working with them! The Incubator at MAGNET
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is holding its 2012 Annual Conference right here in downtown Cleveland. MAGNET is proud to be one of the co-sponsors of this event. The conference opened on Saturday, June 2 and concluded, Tuesday, June 5, with plant tours to NASA Glenn Research Center and Lincoln Electric. On Monday morning, more than 800 engineers packed the ballroom at the Marriott Cleveland Downtown for an elegant breakfast buffet and the early-morning keynote presentation by James M. Free, Deputy Director of NASA GRC. Free shared the many ways that NASA’s mission is continuing as the focus shifts from the Space Shuttle program to deep space exploration. He also highlighted the way NASA is transferring technology to manufacturing applications here on earth. As a prime example of NASA’s terrestrial focus, Free gave a shout out to MAGNET and MAGNET’s President & CEO Dan Berry who was in the audience. That kind acknowledgement came as he presented the names of the nine Northeast Ohio companies that recently each won 40 hours of NASA expert technical consultation through the new Manufacturing Innovation Project sponsored by MAGNET, the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. After Free’s keynote presentation, attendees had a
Last week, I attended the CoDev 2012 Conference in San Diego–which had as its focus the topics of Co-Development and Open Innovation. This was the eleventh annual such gathering, sponsored by The Management Roundtable and the Product Development Management Association. The conference’s tagline is: "Achieving Higher Open Innovation Returns While Managing Risk, Cost & Uncertainty." Open innovation is the practice of looking outside your organization for expertise and/or ideas that can help you pursue new products or new business models. I expected to hear about a long history of success stories from many of the companies presenting case studies which included large firms such as Corning, Avery Dennison, and Kraft Foods. What I actually heard was that a disciplined, systemic approach to open innovation that has full backing of the organization is more of an aspiration than a reality right now, as these firms are still working on how to make it work for them. It should not surprise me that these firms don’t quite have it right because open innovation is difficult, even for large firms. Getting your organization to make innovation a key element of your business strategy is difficult enough in its own right, and figuring out
Are you a manufacturer that: Has ideas for new products or innovative processes that could deliver double-digit growth? Needs help in developing and realizing your growth potential? Is ready to work closely with experts through the entire commercialization process, from vetting to launch? Wants to be "Meaningfully Unique" in a commodity world? If your answer to all these questions is "Yes," we at MAGNET want to reach out to you. This year, MAGNET is formally launching a comprehensive new program called Partnership for Regional Innovation Services to Manufacturers (PRISM). This is a long name for a program with a simple purpose: help small- to medium-size manufacturers in Northeast Ohio thrive in today’s global marketplace. PRISM is a new business model and natural evolution of MAGNET’s original mandate. The concept is simple: Help manufacturers realize their growth plans faster, cheaper, and with less risk while creating a continuous flow from innovation thru launch. With PRISM, participating manufacturers will be able to leverage all Northeast Ohio’s many regional assets to create sustained manufacturing growth for Ohio. PRISM clients will have easy access to MAGNET’s well-documented 4-D innovation process, an entire network of partners, including economic development organizations, government agencies, universities, service providers
If you’re a manufacturer with less than $50 million in annual revenue, AND you are located in Cleveland or Cuyahoga County, you are eligible to apply for an exciting new program MAGNET announced on January 3, 2012. Subject matter experts from NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland can be made available for free to help you solve a technical challenge you may have with a new or existing product. To help with any other costs that might arise in solving the problem, Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland have allocated $450,000 in low interest loans that companies selected for this program can utilize. A FREE briefing session explaining all the details will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25 at MAGNET headquarters in downtown Cleveland. Register online or contact Linda Barita at (216) 391-7766. For complete details, visit www.magnetwork.org/nasa. Media Coverage: NASA Glenn teams up with Cleveland, Cuyahoga County for small-business loan program, by Robert Schoenberger, Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 3, 2012
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,
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.
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
"Manufacturing is not merely about giving people jobs. The next generation of technological innovations is intimately tied to production processes." In an article published in the MIT Technology Review on July 1, Suzanne Berger, a professor of political science at MIT who co-chairs the Institute’s Production in the Innovation Economy project, makes the case that future technology innovation will not follow the pattern established over the last three decades by the information technology sector. "The experiences of successful firms over the past 30 years make it plausible to think that manufacturing can be outsourced and offshored without any damage to the engines of innovation. Once it was possible to codify the different stages of the journey from conception to final product and to break design apart from production, major new industries could arise around enterprises like Apple, Qualcomm, and Cisco. … [However,] There is a close connection between R&D and manufacturing in many of the emerging sectors (wind and solar, biotech, new materials, batteries and others) because modularization may just not work as well for these technologies as it has for IT. R&D engineers may have to stay close to manufacturing to develop new strategies for making processes more efficient."