This year, the University of Maine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) was awarded $2 million in grant money to upgrade to the latest technology.
UMaine’s AMC is apart of the College of Engineering at the university. The main purpose of this center is to aid in research development at the university and to advocate for the growth of advanced technology in Maine. Their program stretches throughout Maine and the rest of the United States with the hope being that businesses will utilize the tools and aid the AMC can provide. The AMC has produced many creations both large and small, along with the help and creativity from the College of Engineering and some of UMaine’s research centers.
The two grants the AMC received are meant for upgrades for the program and to install more advanced equipment. This will allow the school to keep up with current manufacturing research. With these upgrades, the center will be able to adapt more metal manufacturing that will meet the needs of the current industry.
“Learning on the latest technology is critical to our students and industry workforce development,” Director of the AMC John Belding commented. “If we can assist companies to adopt the latest technology without risk, it will be a huge win for the entire state of Maine.”
John Belding has been with the AMC since 2008 when he took the position of assistant director. Now, as director, Belding is responsible for all the operations of the center. Since he has been with the UMaine AMC, his main objectives have been to support economic development in Maine by creating, designing and building unique solutions for businesses and by making the expertise and services of the AMC more accessible to Maine businesses.
The center is meant to support new economic development in Maine and the new upgrades will integrate new programs into Maine. The new technology will help companies in Maine to keep up with the changing technology around them. The staff of the College of Engineering and its students will also benefit from the new technology the center has received.
The project team will focus on incorporating new technology into current projects as well as more broadly communicating the capabilities of emerging additive metal technology in a variety of manufacturing types, including timber harvesting and processing, food and beverage manufacturing and medical and aerospace manufacturing.
“We can help industries figure out those new pieces of equipment, how to run it, what the cost is to run it, what new capabilities it’s capable of. We can train their workforce. We can train students on that equipment,” Belding noted. “So, it really helps benefit the whole manufacturing business here in the state of Maine.”
The grant money will also allow the UMaine engineering programs to partake in their own research and development plan, which allows for the UMaine community to work in tandem with more than 150 companies to be able to better educate manufacturers from around the nation on updated manufacturing techniques. These techniques seek to work towards a sustainable and efficient manufacturing process, which will have a large impact on the local and state economy.