LIMA — Thanks to the continuing implementation of the second phase of a grant to Joint Systems Manufacturing Center from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment, the Ohio Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Center is set to receive $900,000 in funding to help create a new innovation center.
Allen County Commissioners approved the memorandum of understanding between OEAMC and the Allen County Office of Economic Adjustment, the local administrators of the grant.
“The OEAMC will be using those OEA grant funds along with some other state grants they have to create a center that fosters innovative processes and products, not only for JSMC but for other companies related to the defense industry, suppliers and entrepreneurs,” project manager Cynthia Leis said.
Creating new manufacturing techniques, such as high strain metal forming, which uses high levels of electricity to form lightweight metal components, could help foster a more efficient manufacturing process at JSMC, helping the plant remain competative. Another part of this funding will inclue conducting a feasibility study for a petroleum laboratory, which would research alternative uses for refinery products.
“Right now, they’re conducting some outreach to all Ohio refineries,” Leis said. “It would be intended to be a regional or statewide petroleum laboratory if the results indicate there’s a need.”
Leis noted that, while OEAMC has received other grant funding for equipment, this funding would center around “brain power,” helping to fund contracts for the various engineers who would be working on these innovations.
“It’s the brain power of the OAEMC staff, which is Judy and her technical director at this time, but it will also be spent on General Dynamics engineers as well as, for instance, Ohio Northern engineers,” she said. “During this time of development, this grant is intended to pay for those individuals. You don’t get engineers from General Dynamics and not pay them.”
Leis noted these efforts are meant to work in coordination with other efforts to foster workforce growth in the county, including Link Lima.
“We’re all pushing that boulder in the same direction,” she said.
OEAMC president Judy Cowan could not be reached for comment.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.