Ohio State receives $6.8 million to stand up manufacturing innovation

Posted: November 18, 2015

By: Matt Schutte

Columbus, OH (November 17, 2015) - The U.S. Department of Commerce and Department of Defense have chosen The Ohio State University Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) to create a new model for manufacturing and commercialization support for regional businesses.

A three-year $6.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment (DoD/OEA) will fund CDME’s work to foster economic stability and growth in central and north central Ohio by advancing the global competitiveness of existing defense and commercial manufacturing companies. 

“EDA is pleased to partner with the DoD’s Office of Economic Adjustment and The Ohio State University to support small and mid-sized manufacturers in the central Ohio region,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams. “We applaud the CDME for their focus on coupling multi-industry collaboration, technology commercialization and workforce development into one unified program that will maximize the impact for businesses striving to get new technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace and ready the local workforce to compete for jobs in emerging technologies.”

CDME’s three-pronged approach to enhance economic vitality begins with facilitating multi-industry collaboration to address critical manufacturing challenges and market opportunities. Technological solutions from startup companies and university-based researchers will then be commercialized. Workforce development is the third major component, ensuring that workers are trained on emerging manufacturing technologies.

“CDME will connect major companies’ multi-million dollar needs with the tens of thousands of new technologies and patents that reside in small startup companies and universities in the region,” said CDME Associate Director Nate Ames, principal investigator of the grant project.

“It will have a compounding effect on the Ohio economy by stabilizing large enterprises, implementing game-changing manufacturing technology and increasing the success of local startup companies.”

CDME operations are based in a 100,000-square-foot multi-use facility on Ohio State’s West Campus. The approximately $2.2 million worth of specialized equipment procured through this grant will enable CDME’s researchers, engineers and project managers to move technology from concept through the product development process and on to deployment in a manufacturing environment.

The grant also supports CDME’s execution of at least two multi-industry research projects in areas of critical need to Ohio’s overlapping commercial and defense manufacturing marketplace. One targeted focus area is multi-material joining for structural systems, a critical concern to the design and manufacturing of next-generation vehicles and components.

In conjunction with Ohio State, collaborators Columbus State Community College and North Central State College will implement a workforce training program to instruct both current and future workers on the latest technologies and production methods as they are being developed.

The grant will also support the addition of several staff positions, mainly engineers, and student researchers at CDME, which currently employs a diverse mix of engineering, business and graphic design staff.

“We are extremely grateful for this award,” said Ohio State Vice President of Economic and Corporate Engagement Matt McNair,” because it will amplify our role as a catalyst for economic development. By bringing together our researchers, brightest students and corporate partners, CDME will deliver practical solutions that will benefit companies from startups to multinationals while training the next generation of innovators.”

Established in 2014, CDME is a center within the College of Engineering and the Office of Research that provides industry partners with tightly integrated design, commercialization and manufacturing solutions by utilizing the technical talents and experience of The Ohio State University’s world-class faculty and centers.