Last week, Massachusetts celebrated the grand opening of the UMass Lowell Fabric Discovery Center, an advanced manufacturing research and development center that will focus on innovation in textile and electronic integration, aiming to advance and integrate technologies from three Manufacturing USA institutes: NextFlex, AFFOA (Advanced Functional Fabrics of America), and ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing). The center is in the same building that also houses the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center and the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center, which is also linked with ARM. The state had previously announced a $10M grant to create this center.
This partnership will enable advanced prototyping and testing, pilot manufacturing, human-robot interaction, and education and workforce development to serve the needs of manufacturers in Massachusetts and the nation. Leveraging UMass Lowell’s technical expertise and its Innovation Hub startup ecosystem, the center will develop new medical textiles, wearable electronics, photovoltaic fabrics, performance clothing, and textiles with desirable properties such as flame resistance, moisture control, thermal regulation and embedded sensing.
In other good news, at the opening celebration Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced $7M in Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative grants, including a $240k grant to UMass Amherst to support their work with NextFlex on the Vital Sign Monitoring project and a $2.15M grant to NextFlex member Carpe Diem, Inc. to help support a collaborative supply chain in Massachusetts linked to work that Carpe Diem does in Flexible Hybrid Electronics and with NextFlex. The partners expect to create over 100 new manufacturing jobs within three years in developing products such as advanced air filters and medical devices.
Scott Miller, Director of Strategic Projects, spoke at the event on behalf of NextFlex and joined in the celebration.
— NextFlex (@NextFlexUS) July 12, 2018
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