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Larry Blackledge

Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center receives $500,000 federal grant

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MENOMONIE -- The National Institute of Standards and Technology has awarded the UW-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center $502,000 to establish a Manufacturing Technology Acceleration Center (M-TAC) Pilot Project.

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The Manufacturing Outreach Center, a NIST-Manufacturing Extension Partnership center within the UW-Stout Discovery Center, will work with Madison-based Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership on the project.

The pilot project will focus on methods, tools and processes that help small and medium-size manufacturers identify, adapt and adopt advanced manufacturing technologies to their operations -- with a goal of building globally competitive supply chains for the region’s key industry clusters.

The UW-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center project is one of five pilot projects awarded across the country. The purpose of the programs is to conceptualize and test ways of helping these target manufacturers. Knowledge gained from the pilot will be used by NIST to shape the offerings of the National MEP network.

“This award is a testament to the value that our Manufacturing Outreach Center brings to the businesses and industries their projects managers work with,” said Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen. “UW-Stout is committed to helping our economy grow, and this grant will help us do that.”

“We’re very pleased to bring this opportunity to Wisconsin manufacturers,” said Larry Blackledge, MOC director, “and to support their continuing efforts to profitably grow their businesses.”

Blackledge said he is looking forward to working with WMEP and partners across the Midwest to provide innovative solutions to today’s manufacturing challenges.

An example of prior MOC work is assisting an industrial equipment manufacturer in identifying and implementing an optical measurement system commonly used in the medical industry to improve their product’s quality performance.

The M-TAC pilot will launch in March with the recruitment of the first round of manufacturing pilot projects.

The Discovery Center, UW-Stout’s gateway to cross-disciplinary applied research and technical assistance, draws on its extensive experience working with UW-Stout and UW System faculty, departments and colleges to enhance student learning, provide industry solutions, advance knowledge and contribute to the region’s economic development.

For more information on the Discovery Center, contact Director Randy Hulke, 715-232-2565 or hulker@uwstout.edu.

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