U.S. Representative announces metrology defense center of excellence funding for OSC, YSU, and partners

Youngstown, Ohio – February 20, 2009 – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan announced today a $1.6 million federal direct appropriation to establish a National Defense Center of Excellence in Industrial Metrology and 3D Imaging headquartered at Youngstown State University.

The center, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense Army Research Lab, will focus on developing and improving advanced manufacturing technologies for military and commercial uses that could have widespread economic impact across the Northeast Ohio region and throughout the United States.

“The work and research that will be done here at Youngstown State University as a result of this funding will be among the most advanced in the country,” Ryan said Friday at a news conference on the YSU campus.

“This brings our university, our local high technology firms and our manufacturing base into a dynamic affiliation that will help make certain the economic future of the Mahoning Valley.”

The Center is the fruit of an ongoing partnership of YSU, M*7 Technologies in Youngstown, the Youngstown Business Incubator, Zethus Software LLC in Youngstown, the Ohio Supercomputer Center’s Blue Collar Computing Program in Columbus, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., and is an outgrowth of the Advanced Manufacturing Initiative jointly sponsored by YSU, YBI and Ryan’s office.

“This project represents the synthesis of academics and industry, joining forces to help transform the Mahoning Valley,” YSU President David C. Sweet said. “It is upon these kinds of partnerships, with the leadership of Congressman Ryan, that the region’s economic future rests.”

Metrology is the science of measurement, traditionally performed using tools such as tape measures and calipers. But more advanced instruments, such as three-dimensional imaging, allows for much faster, more complete measuring of complex shapes for industrial applications.

 “As manufacturing becomes increasingly complex, it is ever more important that we can measure parts and design tools accurate to the nanometer scale,” said Martin Abraham, dean of the YSU College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

“This technology will allow firms that have traditionally made the things on which society relies to transition to 21st century manufacturing, retaining jobs in the Mahoning Valley and creating new opportunities in new clusters such as alternative energy.”

The new center at YSU, led by Chemistry Professor Allen Hunter and a team from YSU’s STEM College, is designed to carry out research, development and commercialization activities in these advanced technologies.

“The goal is to leverage the resources of a deeply integrated partnership that includes YSU’s STEM College, regional companies, and external research and development organizations, so that intellectual property is not just created but, more importantly, is translated into new commercial products and services, thus creating new high-paying jobs in the Mahoning Valley and across Ohio,” Hunter said.

Over the past five years, Ryan’s long term efforts to support the creation of a technology corridor with Youngstown at its center has helped secure more than $10 million in federal appropriations for YSU, including funding for several synergic projects such as the YSU Center for Transportation and Materials Engineering and the YSU CyberEnabled Industrial Innovation Center.