September 15, 2016
The Berkshire Innovation Center, along with collaborative partner Berkshire Community College (BCC), today held a milestone event featuring an overview of newly acquired advanced manufacturing equipment, including a large Stratasys 3D printer that utilizes the newest cutting-edge technology and is capable of printing in seven different materials (including bio-compatible materials) and the complete color spectrum and is the first of its type to arrive at any college campus.
The sold out event, part of the BIC’s Speaker Series, featured an overview of the equipment as well as a tour and demonstration. The equipment, garnered by BCC, includes three cutting-edge 3D Printers, a mega-sized coordinate measuring machine (CMM), laser scanner and reverse engineering software, and is funded by a Massachusetts Life Sciences Grant and the Massachusetts Workforce Skills Capital program for a total of $960K.
“The BIC and BCC have forged a strong and productive partnership that is already yielding dividends for manufacturers and their employees in the Berkshire region. This equipment will help to serve the mission of the innovation center, including providing access to advanced capabilities growth opportunities for small and medium sized companies in life sciences, the life sciences supply chain, advanced manufacturing and technology,” stated BIC Project Director Rod Jané. “Today marks another step forward for the BIC as it continues to gain traction toward breaking ground.”
Currently housed at Taconic High School’s (THS) Manufacturing Shop, the equipment will be relocated to the BIC after its completion. BCC will develop educational pathways with this advanced technology to support the BIC member companies and provide college certifications.
“This equipment and the training that will be available to BCC students and the manufacturing industry is remarkable,” said BCC President Ellen Kennedy. “This technology is so new – that many industry representatives have not even seen its capabilities. When the BIC is completed, we anticipate that most of the training programs will have been developed and ready to go. As programs are developed, they will be available to member companies.”
According to William Mulholland, BCC’s vice president for workforce development & community education, BCC and Pittsfield Public Schools faculty, along with representatives from General Dynamics Mission Systems, Sinicon Plastics, Sonoco Global Plastics, Apex Resource Technologies and the New Dalton Group, have completed the first phase of a train-the-trainer program.
“This equipment is like something you would expect to see on Star Trek - it’s pure STEM!” said Mulholland. “BCC students and workers from BIC member companies will be using this technology in their classes to design prototypes and improve existing designs. This will allow companies to move to a much higher level of technology and enter new markets. This collaboration between BCC and the BIC is at a technical level that we could not have dreamed of!”