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Read on for updates on the latest appointments from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), and facility news from Hexcel, Chengdu Aircraft, Zortrax, and more.
Made Smarter Innovation program gains two Co-directors
Two new Co-directors have been appointed to lead the research and network arm of the £147 million Made Smarter Innovation program, delivered by the UK’s national funding agency for science and research, UKRI.
The University of Strathclyde’s Jillian MacBryde and Jan Godsell from the University of Warwick will take up their roles with immediate effect, working with the program’s challenge director and team for an initial five-month period to create a wider community of stakeholders and research to form a Made Smarter Network Plus. The Network Plus will bring together economic and social science insights from across the UK’s manufacturing sector to boost engagement and partnership opportunities to accelerate digital technology advances within manufacturing.
MacBryde is a Professor of Innovation and Operations Management whose work focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship regarding technology and social science, while Godsell is a Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy whose work explores supply chain design and strategy, process improvement and sustainability.
“Digital technologies have the power to radically transform how we manufacture and deliver the products and services of the future and deliver a more resilient, prosperous economy with fundamental changes to the nature of work,” said Chris Courtney, Challenge Director for Made Smarter Innovation. “A key part of delivering an optimal future in manufacturing will be enabled by harnessing the insight from the broader economic, social, regulatory and political sciences.
“I’m delighted to welcome Jan and Jill to the overall effort as Co-directors, combining two of our leading academics in this space bringing leadership, insight with a passion for manufacturing.”
NCDMM appoints John Schmitt Executive Director of AMIIC
The NCDMM has announced the hire of John Schmitt to the role of Executive Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation and Integration Center (AMIIC), which the organization launched as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Huntsville, Alabama last week.
AMIIC aims to bring together government, industry, academia and the defense community in order to bridge Alabama’s workforce gap and provide students and workers with more opportunities for training, certifications, and apprenticeships. The center will fulfill the modernization manufacturing needs of the US Army and US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Aviation & Missile Center.
Prior to being appointed Executive Director of AMIIC, Schmitt was contracted with the NCDMM through his consulting firm Schmitt Consulting Group. After more than two decades of service in the US Army as an aviator and Acquisition Corps Officer, Schmitt retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2019.
Schmitt previously held the role of Assistant Professor and Course Director within the Department of Chemistry and Life Science at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of California, Davis, and a Master’s degree in microbiology and immunology from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“The NCDMM team has had the privilege of working with John throughout his career as a US Army Acquisition Corps Officer and afterwards,” said Gary Fleegle, NCDMM President and CEO. “John is a high-caliber professional with an advanced manufacturing expertise, the strategic vision, and natural leadership abilities necessary to carry out AMIIC’s mission and establish it as an advanced manufacturing center of excellence in Northern Alabama.”
Hexcel to build new center of excellence in Utah
Advanced composite materials company Hexcel has announced plans to build a flagship Center of Excellence for Research & Technology in Utah, US, in order to support next-generation developments in advanced composites technologies.
The center will be the company’s largest for innovation and product development in North America, and will create up to 150 new, and reportedly high-paying, jobs over the next 12 years.
The center will showcase Hexcel’s advanced composites technology, which includes manufacturing 3D printed parts for customers in the commercial aerospace, space and defense, and industrial sectors, alongside providing space for growth and expansion for the future.
“We welcome Hexcel as it expands in Utah,” said Dan Hemmert, Executive Director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). “Their decision to grow here will create many high-paying jobs for Utahns in skilled science and advanced technology. Hexcel also has an excellent training program that will serve to develop Utah’s workforce further and help its employees develop the skills they need to succeed.”
Chengdu Aircraft to build UAV industrial park
China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) has agreed to develop an industrial park in the provincial region of Sichuan dedicated to the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), called the CAIG-Zigong UAV Industrial Base.
Located in Zigong, the facility will reportedly focus on the design, research and development, testing, and manufacturing of both military and commercial UAVs, including the use of 3D printing. The Sichuan government hopes the industrial park will aid in expanding the regional aerospace industry and economy, as well as developing national capabilities in military and commercial unmanned systems.
CAIG and the Sichuan government will purportedly invest around $1.55 billion in developing the facility, which is expected to be fully operational during 2023. Once complete, it is estimated the industrial park will be capable of developing and building around 100 large UAVs every year.
Zortrax and Skriware team up to deliver 3D printers to Irish school labs
Polish 3D printer manufacturer Zortrax has partnered with technology education start-up Skriware to provide schools in Ireland with SkriLab laboratories equipped with the firm’s M200 Plus 3D printers.
Under the agreement, Zortrax’s machine will become an integral part of Skriware’s flagship SkriLab educational laboratory, which is marketed as an educational system based on 3D printing, robotics, programming, and spatial modeling tools. The aim of the lab is to help students acquire skills such as critical and independent thinking, the ability to work in a project-oriented manner, teamwork, and creative problem solving, while gaining manual and technical competencies.
The first stage of the agreement, which is worth around €1.1 million, will see the companies work together to provide the SkriLabs to Irish schools from May. The next step is a joint bid to introduce the SkriLab classrooms to some 4,500 schools in Poland under a governmental program called ‘Active Blackboard’.
“The dynamically changing world presents new challenges for young people entering adulthood,” said Mariusz Babula, Vice CEO of Zortrax. “This was highlighted by the pandemic that strained the education system and exposed significant issues in contemporary education.
“Cooperation with Skriware allows us to act towards one of the key goals of Zortax strategy which is active participation in shaping modern education and supporting future professionals in choosing their career path.”
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