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Florida Tech Forges Path to Manufacturing’s Future as Federal Grant Spurs Reuse of Facility

Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology will use a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to launch the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design, a 100,000-square-foot facility in the former Intersil building in Palm Bay that will advance the capabilities of U.S. companies in next-generation manufacturing methods while ensuring students are exposed to technology and ideas that will influence the global manufacturing marketplace for years to come.

Known as CAMID, the facility at Florida Tech’s Research and Development Center, 2495 Palm Bay Road NE, will enhance the digital product development and operations of manufacturers as well as their supply chains. CAMID will also assist corporate clients and students by:

  • Providing consulting help to companies integrate full-scale Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and other digital manufacturing tools into their processes;
  • Giving companies of all sizes access to leading-edge software and manufacturing equipment to cost-effectively meet their customer demand;
  • Training existing workers to employ the latest advanced manufacturing technologies;
  • Educating the next generation of workers so they can be more competitive in the global advanced-manufacturing workforce;
  • Conducting world-class research to further improve the advanced manufacturing landscape for domestic suppliers.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker recognized the importance of this endeavor, saying in announcing the grant that the facility “will help ensure that American manufacturing continues to thrive.”

CAMID will be overseen by Dr. Michael Grieves, whose long executive career in technology has included both Fortune 500 companies and numerous start-ups. Dr. Grieves, an acknowledged international author and world expert in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), is a Research Professor at Florida Tech. The EDA grant is key to allowing the facility to carry out its community-based mission, he said.

“CAMID will bring together industry, students and professors in a facility that will provide product development and manufacturing hands-on assistance, education and training, and research on 21st-century technologies that will make and keep manufacturers globally competitive,” said Grieves, who is a long-time executive in technical fields with an emphasis on start-ups.

The facility will offer the latest digital modeling, simulation and visualization technologies as well as computer-driven manufacturing equipment. It will operate under the “hoteling” model that allows companies to use the facility as needed, whether in for project or single product, for training or to utilize the university’s consulting and research services. When the work is done, companies will return to their own operations.

“With CAMID, we are creating a system of services, equipment and expertise that exemplifies Florida Tech’s credo of high tech with a human touch,” said Anthony J. Catanese, the university’s president and CEO. “We appreciate the foresight shown by the Economic Development Administration in supporting this important project.”

Winning the EDA grant involved key community stakeholders including the City of Palm Bay, CareerSource Brevard and the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, both of which recognize the impact CAMID can have.

“The CAMID facility will provide a valuable resource for Brevard County’s manufacturing community and foster growth within our innovation ecosystem,” said Lynda Weatherman, the EDC’s president and chief executive officer. “The EDC Innovation Council and Industry Council have supported Florida Tech during the application process and will continue to engage with them as the project moves forward.”

Palm Bay Mayor William Capote, who helped set up a meeting in Washington, D.C., last year involving the mayor, top leaders from Florida Tech, the Secretary of Commerce and officials from the EDA, is excited about what CAMID will mean for the region.

“This is great news for the area,” he said. “With Harris Corp., with other developments along our waterfront, CAMID will help establish a high-tech corridor. It is a key component and a catalyst. We are excited about what is to come.”

Dwayne McCay, Florida Tech’s executive vice president and COO, said CAMID will surely become a critical asset for both the business community and the university.

“It will support industrial partners with training and advanced manufacturing techniques. It will educate students and even displaced workers on advanced manufacturing, process improvement and other areas. And it will allow us to perform ground-breaking research on new best practices for advanced and cyber-enabled manufacturing.”

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