manufacturing deal for JSU engineering dept.
October is DOORS FOR HOSTED MARVIN Featuring JSU center to support regional manufacturing to start in November BY PATRICK MCCRELESS firstname.lastname@example.org Jacksonville State University University is creating a center to help regional industries improve their operations and teach them how to use the latest manufacturing technologies. The new center, paid for partly with $700,000 in state money, should be fully operational in November and provide manufacturers with services from design and prototype development development to research and education — all while giving giving training and possible job opportunities to JSU students. Meanwhile, the center will help existing industries grow and attract new ones to the region, some economic economic developers say. “We’re helping regional regional industry move into new methods of manufacturing,” manufacturing,” said Chris Marker, manager of the center. “Our job is to make companies in the area more efficient ... to aid other companies any way we can.” Marker said JSU has operated a pilot version of the program through its applied engineering department for the last few months. During that time, students students worked on a few projects projects for area companies, including Gnutti Carlo in Jacksonville, which produces produces diesel engine components. components. Showing the center’s potential helped JSU obtain the $700,000 in the state’s fiscal 2017 education budget budget to expand. “Anytime we can help create more jobs and bring more industry in here in the state of Alabama is a plus,” said Rep. Randy Wood, R-Saks, who partnered with Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh to get the money for JSU. Marsh said JSU first approached him about finding money to get the center fully operational. “I thought it would be a good program and I was eager to help them secure funding for it,” Marsh said. “I think it’s going to be good for industry and good for students.” Marker said the money has been used to order new equipment for 3-D printing, printing, a process that involves manufacturing three-dimensional three-dimensional objects based on a digital model in a computer. The equipment is set to arrive in November. November. Marker said the center will receive multiple types of state-of-the-art printers, printers, including one that can make plastic objects and another that produces full metal parts. “We’ll make prototype parts for them on a limited run,” Marker said. “Then we’ll help those industries find other local companies companies to mass produce those parts.” The university will provide provide the center’s services at cost, meaning it will only charge companies to pay for the materials used to manufacture any parts. Marker said the plan is also to teach area industry representatives how to use the cutting-edge 3-D printing printing equipment — knowledge knowledge they can use should their companies purchase similar technology in the future. Marker said JSU students students will perform the bulk of the work at the center. “It’s a lab for the students ... they’ll learn the equipment equipment and do jobs for the companies,” Marker said. “In the end this will give our students jobs — they’re learning things, skills these companies want.” Steve Sewell, executive executive vice president for the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, said many industries in the state are looking for partnerships partnerships with universities to help them succeed and grow. “For companies considering considering moving to this region, these kinds of partnerships are important when they make their final decision in where to locate,” Sewell said. Don Hopper, executive director of the Calhoun County Economic Development Development Council, said the center would be another another tool to help him attract more industry and jobs to the area. “JSU on numerous occasions has helped us tip the scales and bring in industry ... we already use and tout the applied engineering school there quite a bit,” Hopper said. “This is another opportunity opportunity to sell the area as well as work with existing businesses.” businesses.” Staff Writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_ Star.