RIT a leader in future of manufacturing

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A. Sue Weisler

Research to be done by the REMADE Institute will address issues such as material aging and wear, which is currently conducted at the Materials Science Lab inside the Golisano Institute for Sustainability.

RIT is poised to continue its significant role in the manufacturing industry, both locally and nationally.

The university, which can trace its roots to providing professional development to workforce at the region’s major manufacturers, is leading efforts to revitalize and revamp manufacturing through a variety of programs and projects. That latest effort is as leader of the federal initiative REMADE, part of Manufacturing USA, a network of regional institutes tasked with bridging the gap between basic research and product development in key technology areas regarded as critical to U.S. manufacturing.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced last month at an on-campus news conference that it had chosen RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) to lead REMADE—which stands for Reducing Embodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions—Institute. This national coalition of 26 universities, 44 companies, seven national labs, 26 industry trade associations and foundations and three states will work together to forge new clean energy initiatives.

REMADE, under the RIT-led Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance (SMIA), will leverage up to $70 million in federal funding that will be matched by $70 million in private cost-share commitments from industry and other consortium members. I’s focus: driving down the cost of technologies essential to reuse, recycle and remanufacture materials such as metals, fibers, polymers and electronic waste. It aims to achieve a 50-percent improvement in overall energy efficiency by 2027, measures that could save billions of dollars in energy costs and improve U.S. economic competitiveness through innovative new manufacturing techniques, small business opportunities and new training and jobs for American workers.

“As the proud academic leader of the Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance, we look forward to making a critical impact on U.S. manufacturing by working collaboratively with our coalition partners in enabling improvements to the use of clean energy toward enhancing U.S. manufacturing productivity,” said RIT President Bill Destler. “We are very appreciative and proud that our our elected leaders have once again recognized the significant impact that our university has had—and will continue to have— on U.S. manufacturing.”

“Across the nation and around the world, cleaner production, clean tech and adoption of a circular economy are recognized as critical drivers to a prosperous future,” added Nabil Nasr, associate provost and GIS director. He will serve as chairman and chief executive officer of SMIA and the REMADE initiative. “As resource scarcity intensifies, the thoughtful use of water, energy and raw materials is the only path forward. This institute will leverage several strong building blocks already in place in New York state and create new opportunities for economic growth.”

While this is the first Manufacturing USA Ainitiative that RIT will lead, the university is engaged in seven of the 14 initiatives announced, including AIM Photonics, Digital Manufacturing and Design Institute, Flexible Hybrid Electronics, Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute , America Makes and Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Innovaion Hub.

RIT has a long and well-established reputation as a global leader in sustainable manufacturing, remanufacturing, applied research, technology transfer and policy development. Since 1992, its Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) has combined analytical research practices with applied technology to help U.S. manufacturers remain competitive in the global marketplace.

GIS, established in 2007 with support from Rochester businessman B. Thomas Golisano, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and New York state, is home to the Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery, Center of Excellence in Sustainable Manufacturing, Center for Sustainable Mobility, New York Pollution Prevention Institute and NanoPower Research Laboratory, all of which conduct research, engage in partnerships and offer consulting that support the manufacturing industry.

GIS is also a Pioneer University with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, involved with CE100 initiatives and the Disruptive Innovation Festival event to help advance the circular economy.

REMADE Institute

STANDS FOR: Reducing Embodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions

COALITION OF: 26 universities, 44 companies, 7 national labs, 3 states, 26 industry trade associations and foundations

TOTAL FUNDING INCLUDES: Up to $70 million in federal funding, matched by $70 million in private cost-share commitments