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Manufacturing research proceeds with growing industry, education partnerships throughout 2019

COURTESY OF OMIC R&D - OMIC R&D staff stand in the Scappoose facility. Grant Kirby, rear left, leads distance learning for OMIC. Next to him appears Operations Lead Josh Koch and Research Grant and Project Lead Ally Imbody. In the front stand Administrative Lead Michele Vitali, Executive Director Craig Campbell and Research Operations Officer Urmaze Naterwalla.

The Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center, or OMIC Research & Development, has welcomed new partners and staff members in recent months.

OMIC opened in Scappoose in 2016 with support from the state, private industry and educational partners, including Oregon Institute of Technology. The project brings business funding and partnerships to researchers looking to improve manufacturing work.

OMIC reached 30 partners last month when Sumitomo Electric Carbide Inc. joined. Other partners include businesses like Boeing, Daimler Trucks, and OSG (which is planning to open a facility in Scappoose); nonprofits like the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership; and universities including Oregon State University and Portland State University.

Five Oregon Tech students interned at OMIC over the summer and will continue the internship during summers throughout their education.

The relationship between OMIC R&D and Portland Community College's OMIC training facility has not been formalized, but OMIC R&D Executive Director Craig Campbell said it would be in the coming years. PCC is expected to break ground on construction soon.

In October, OMIC announced a partnership with OMEP and other groups for the "Industry 4.0 Manufacturing Technology Advancement Lab." The initiative's goal is to provide "an interactive experience that is hands-on, engaging and educational, and to provide a proof of concept to small- and medium-sized manufacturers for incorporating new technologies in Oregon," according to an OMIC newsletter.

In the fall, OMIC hired former Boeing machining engineer Urmaze Naterwalla as research operations officer.

OMIC is set to receive more than $9 million to construct a new facility and purchase new equipment as part of funding approved by the Oregon Legislature in July.


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