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Colorado manufacturers will benefit from EWI’s new Applied Research Center

By Karla Tartz December 8, 2015, 10:20 am MST

Do you understand the correlation between innovation and growing revenues? A study by PWC found that in the first three years after the recession, companies committed to innovation grew 38 percent over the three-year period. Companies that did not commit to innovation only grew at 10 percent over that same period.

While new technologies such as additive manufacturing, automation and the Internet of Things are changing the way manufacturing companies make things, not all companies have the resources to commit to an in-house, innovative R&D program. Recognizing this, the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance and the City of Loveland have made a serious commitment to bring innovation to all Colorado manufactures and Advanced Industries.

In November, after a recruitment effort that began three years ago, the board of directors of EWI voted to approve a business plan for a Colorado facility. This decision to expand means EWI will bring their proven record of helping companies bridge the gap between R&D and manufacturing implementation to Loveland, Colorado. 

Based on an eight-month study, including one-on-one meetings and focus groups with manufacturers, EWI has created an operational plan that will focus on establishing nationally "best in class" technical capabilities in the area of Advanced Quality Measurement Technologies. Such technologies include non-destructive evaluation (NDE), real-time process monitoring to assess quality, advanced metrology (e.g. non-contact surface measurement), and structural health monitoring (SHM). 

EWI President and CEO Dr. Henry Cialone said, "We are very excited about the opportunity to establish an operation in Colorado with nationally 'best in class' technical capabilities. This aligns with EWI's strategic plan to establish new centers of excellence across the nation to increase the breadth of our client relationships, regional partnerships, and technical capabilities to help manufacturers innovate. We look forward to working with CAMA and other stakeholders to help manufactures innovate and to bring more attention, more resources, more capabilities to the Rocky Mountain manufacturing community."

The groundbreaking research facility will be located at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation & Technology in Loveland.

The applied research facility is part of the larger strategy promoted by FourFront, a project previously known as SMART. The new public- private partnership has its sights set on accelerating the growth and resiliency of manufacturers across Colorado's Advanced Industries, with a particular focus on Colorado's defense businesses. 

Tim Heaton, president of the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Association (CAMA), believes the new research facility will be a valuable resource to small, medium, and large manufacturing companies.

"The pace of innovation is accelerating daily. The innovative companies are advancing. Those who are not advancing are being overtaken and forced to be reactive rather than proactive. CAMA wants all Colorado companies to be proactive and innovate their products, innovate with new materials, and innovate with new processes that provides speed to market," said Heaton. "CAMA has worked hard to bring EWI to Colorado to provide Colorado manufacturers with the tools they need to innovate. We look forward to partnering with EWI to drive innovation in the Colorado manufacturing sector." 

The Loveland research facility will be connected to manufacturers across the state through FourFront's four Manufacturing Advancement Centers located in Northern Colorado, metro Denver, Southern Colorado, and the Western Slope. Each center will house collaboration and training equipment including state-of-the-art digital technology and two-way video capabilities allowing access to and engagement with the Application Center.  Stay tuned for the unveiling of the logo and branding for these centers. 

The development of this facility is slated to begin soon and will represent a unique partnership between the City of Loveland, CAMA, and various public and private stakeholders. In addition to research and development, FourFront also plans to provide access to resources for workforce development and training, business growth, and market diversification. 

"At the end of the day, this effort is going to equip businesses all around the state with the tools they need to innovate and enhance productivity," said Heaton.

Karla Tartz is Chief Strategy Office for FourFront Colorado. Reach her at karla@fourfrontco.com.

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