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10 Advanced Manufacturing Articles | Page:

$2m incentive fund to lure business to Health-Tech Corridor

Since 2011 the Health-Tech Corridor (HTC), the three-mile stretch in Midtown between downtown and University Circle, has been quietly building a hub for health, high-tech and research companies.
 
Today more than 160 such endeavors in biomed, technology and other industries are operating in the HTC, creating an entrepreneurial hub touting amenities such as a 100 gigabits-per-second fiber optic internet pipe – the first of its kind in the country – and access to nearby universities and medical centers.
 
Now HTC officials have partnered with JumpStart to build a $2 million fund to foster even more activity. “We’re really excited to use the fund as a carrot to attract businesses to the corridor,” says HTC director Jeff Epstein, adding that 90 percent of the 500,000 square feet of renovated office and lab space is already filled.
 
But there is plenty of room for any company looking to relocate on the HTC’s 1,600 acres. “We’ve got space for whoever wants to come,” Epstein says. “Early stage companies can get anchored here.” He also notes that Geis Companies’ developments in the area, the Beauty Shoppe co-working space and the new University Hospitals campus add to the corridor’s draw.
 
The HTC and JumpStart raised $1 million for the fund through grants from the Cleveland Foundation, the City of Cleveland and private investments, which was then matched with another $1 million by the Ohio Third Frontier.
 
Companies seeking investment from the fund must have a unique or breakthrough idea, have at least a $1 billion addressable market and exit potential. They must also demonstrate excellence in their fields.
 
Epstein says a fund awareness campaign started last month, while officials at the HTC and JumpStart have been brainstorming attraction campaigns for the past nine months. “We launched social media campaigns in high-cost markets and targeted alumni from local universities,” he explains. “We going for the low-hanging fruit first.”
 
Epstein says more than 20 companies have already expressed an interest in applying for funding. Companies that do apply must go through a full vetting process with JumpStart.
 
“We don’t just give the money away,” explains Epstein. “But companies who don’t get an investment with us will hopefully be turned on to opportunities in Cleveland. The best problem we could have is too many companies interested.”

Port of Cleveland adds major client, equipment

In its quest to be the largest inland port in the United States, the Port of Cleveland made some significant announcements last week, ranging from new overseas shipping business to beautification of Cleveland Harbor.

Last Tuesday, May 10 Lubrizol Corporation, one of the largest European exporters in the state, announced it will now be shipping its container loads of specialty chemicals made in Northeast Ohio to Europe through the Port of Cleveland via the Cleveland-Europe Express service. Previously the company was shipping its products via rail to coastal ports in New York, Norfolk, VA and Charleston, S.C.
 
Now Lubrizol’s shipments will ship directly from Cleveland’s port and travel via the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic. “For them to go through the Port of Cleveland is really a game changer,” says Jade Davis, the port’s vice president of external affairs. “Other companies called us within hours [of the announcement] to see if the port fits their needs.”
 
Cleveland is the only container port on the Great Lakes and port officials are working to meet the needs of other companies like Lubrizol. The port's business has grown between 500 and 600 percent since 2014, estimates Davis. “If we can get greater volume, the costs can go down,” he says of shipping to Europe via the St. Lawrence Seaway.
 
Meanwhile, the port dedicated two new state-of-the-art Liebherr 280 cranes to assist with the increased loads. The cranes are 40 percent more efficient than the port’s previous cranes and have 40 to 50 percent more lift capacity, according to Davis. “We can do bulk cargo with these,” he boasts. “We can load and unload container ships directly from the dock to a ship, or vice versa.”
 
The port did not have container cranes before the arrival of the Liebherrs, named Crane A and Crane B. The new cranes can handle 20 to 25 containers per hour, Davis says. “Less time on the ground loading and unloading means less cost. It definitely helps us compete and be more efficient with service and production.”
 
The International Longshoreman Local 1317 added 40 jobs to its approximately 125 workers on staff at the port last year and will probably add a few more workers this year, says Davis, while the port itself employs about 20 people.
 
To top off the week, the Port of Cleveland announced plans to illuminate the 150-foot-tall cement silos at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. The project, dubbed “Harbor Lights,” was approved by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board of directors last Wednesday, May 11. Herbst Electric will install colorful LED displays to welcome people entering Cleveland via Lake Erie.

port authority announces plans for cleveland-europe express ocean freight service

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority has announced plans to launch the first-ever Cleveland-Europe express ocean freight service, an effort that is currently being finalized and will be cemented next month if the agency's levy passes, officials say.

Port Authority business is already strong, Executive Director Will Friedman said at a recent press conference, with last month's port traffic having exceeded pre-recession levels. The new service will enhance those business fundamentals by offering "lower-cost, faster and greener" direct service.

"For freight, this is like the equivalent of a Cleveland Hopkins direct-to-Heathrow flight from our airport," said Friedman. "We feel that it will be well-subscribed by the maritime community in Northeast Ohio and beyond. There's a huge market -- fifty percent of the country's population is within an eight-hour drive of us."

"We believe this new service will be a game-changer for area companies, helping them become more competitive in the global economy," added board chair Marc Krantz, who stressed that it will help goods and products reach Northeast Ohio manufacturers and companies more quickly and result in more money spent locally.

Without this service, containers shipped from Europe are sent to East Coast ports, where they are then placed aboard a truck or freight line to be transported to Ohio. With the addition of this service, being chartered by the Port itself, both travel time and cost are reduced.

Friedman says the service would create 361 new direct and indirect jobs and generate $34.4 million of total personal income earned. The Port already generates $1.8 billion in annual economic activity.


Source: Will Friedman, Marc Krantz
Writer: Lee Chilcote

new max hayes high will prepare students for modern manufacturing jobs

Rumors of the death of U.S. manufacturing have been greatly exaggerated. As the industry mounts a comeback in Cleveland and other cities, growing companies are discovering it's not easy to find qualified employees. In short, jobs once left for dead are now hard to fill.

In part, the skills gap exists because a generation of workers has been inculcated with the notion that manufacturing is filled with get-your-hands-dirty, dead-end jobs. On the other hand, the traditional model of high school vocational education does not do enough to meet the needs of tech-savvy manufacturers. Today's factories are as likely to be filled with computers as hulking, greasy machines, owners say.

To plug the gap, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District will soon break ground on a new, 165,000-square-foot campus for Max Hayes High School, a vocational school currently at W. 45th and Detroit. The new building will serve up to 800 students -- a one-third increase -- and feature state-of-the-art labs and new academic classrooms to prepare students for today's manufacturing jobs.

"We want to spread the idea that if you go to Max Hayes, you will get a job that can support your family," says Phillip Schwenk, Principal of Max Hayes. "Your job is relevant and it matters. We're trying to transform ourselves into a modern, global institution that really understands the needs of global industry."

The $40 million campus, which will break ground next year and is slated to be completed in 2015, will feature exposed construction elements such as ductwork, columns and steel beams to emphasize the city's manufacturing heritage. Located at W. 65th and Clark, the school will benefit from its proximity to local businesses, the partners involved believe.

"What comes out of this is a beautiful relationship with all of these businesses on the west side looking for people to work there," says Ward 15 Councilman Matt Zone, who represents the Stockyards neighborhood where Hayes will be built.

Project partners include representatives from manufacturing companies as well as organizations such as WIRE-Net, a Cleveland-based advocacy group. They will come together to create the Friends of Max Hayes to support the school.


Source: Phillip Schwenk, Matt Zone
Writer: Lee Chilcote

enjoying 20-percent annual growth, voss is renovating ohio city headquarters

Voss Industries, an employee-owned aerospace and industrial applications company on West 25th Street in Ohio City, is replacing all the windows on its century-old building -- all 650 of 'em.

The investment will help the company to make key improvements to its headquarters on Cleveland's near west side, where it has been since 1957.

"It's been a rather long project," says Voss President and CEO Dan Sedor with a chuckle. "It's a 100-year-old building, so we're refacing it. What's going on in Ohio City is definitely a renaissance, and our company wants to play a small part in it."

"Small" is not the word that accurately describes the outsized ambitions of this half-century-old company that occupies 240,000 square feet in Ohio City, however. Voss has experienced 20-percent growth annually for the past several years, and has hired 80 workers in the last two years alone. The progress, says Sedor, is due to the improving economy and Voss's competitiveness in the marketplace.

"We're a metal manipulator -- we bend it, roll it, stamp it and machine it," says Sedor. "We've been steadily gaining market share by diversifying the markets we serve and also by providing engineering solutions to many of our customers."

Voss has more than 330 employees. Sedor says he likes Ohio City because it offers a convenient, centralized location for employees, who live throughout the region.


Source: Dan Sedor
Writer: Lee Chilcote

the beta space incubator offers entrepreneurial support, mentoring

In a wide open office at MAGNET, a manufacturing advocacy organization situated on the Cleveland State University campus, groups of students are fomenting new ideas. They include an innovative pothole patch, social media tools for landlords, an information technology startup and a biofuels company.

These emerging entrepreneurs have found a new launching pad in The Beta Space, a business incubator and coworking space that offers entrepreneurial support, mentoring and advice from industry experts at MAGNET. David Crain, Director of Entrepreneurial Services at MAGNET, says that he came up with the idea as a way to help student entrepreneurs start companies in Cleveland.

"Students are comfortable starting businesses in their dorm rooms, and yet while they might hear of all these great resources within the region, they're often not sure where to go," says Crain. "Once you have a relationship with someone here, it's really easy to walk down the hallway, ask a question and get an answer."

Students admitted into the Beta Space program have access to a wide array of resources at their fingertips. Not only can they use the physical space anytime they want, but they also have access to coaching services from MAGNET's mentors. Finally, they can brainstorm with other student entrepreneurs.

"We coach them on what they're up against and help them put together a business plan," says Crain. "The entrepreneurial education taking place at the college level is starting to have an impact, and we're seeing a quantum leap in student ideas."

The Beta Space also offers free legal, finance and marketing advice to any entrepreneur, a resource that Crain says is unavailable elsewhere.


Source: Dave Crain
Writer: Lee Chilcote

on opening day, indians harness wind power to fuel ballpark operations

When Cleveland Indians fans catch their first game at Progressive Field this season, they'll be able to check out not only the power hitters in the batting lineup, but also a giant, new wind turbine that harnesses wind power to fuel the ballpark's operations.

The recently constructed turbine, which is the latest in the team's efforts to green-up its ballpark operations, was designed by Cleveland State University engineering professor Majid Rashidi. It weighs 10 tons and generates 40,000 kilowatt hours per year, which is enough to power about 2.5 households. Progressive Field uses about 17 million kilowatt hours per year.

"As our fans know, it's very windy at the ballpark. We've always wanted to do a turbine, but the technology just wasn't there," says Brad Mohr, Assistant Director of Ballpark Operations. "I gave a talk to the Corporate Sustainability Network organized by CSU in 2008, and that's when I got connected to Dr. Rashidi."

Rashidi had designed a vented wind turbine design, which fits into a more compact space than a traditional turbine and pivots with the wind. "It works in cities where there's turbulent wind," explains Mohr. "Much like a rock in a river, it pushes the air molecules at a faster speed through the turbine and generates power."

Mohr, who says he is proud that this is an all-Cleveland project, is working on efforts to educate fans. The Indians will install an interpretive area in the ballpark where people can learn about the park's sustainability efforts, which include solar arrays, energy reduction initiatives, recycling and food composting.

"Without a doubt, teams are looking hard at sustainability," says Mohr. "Through the Green Sports Alliance, we're sharing what's next with each other. For the Indians to influence others in the industry, that makes us very proud."


Source: Brad Mohr
Writer: Lee Chilcote
Photo: Bob Perkoski

hedalloy expands in slavic village to accommodate increased demand

Business leaders who say that the resurgence of manufacturing is helping to lead Northeast Ohio out of the recession will find cause for optimism in Hedalloy Die Corporation. The tool and die maker in Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood is currently doubling the size of its 3,500-square-foot production facility to accommodate increased demand.

“We are seeing a shift back to U.S. manufactured products,” said Joe Susa, Hedalloy’s General Manager, in a release. “Customers are paying more attention to quality rather than bottom line prices. American made tools are getting noticed for their higher quality and longer life span. ”

Hedalloy has doubled its sales since 2009 and hired additional employees. Its expansion on E. 49th Street is expected to be complete next month.

In an era of global competition, Hedalloy’s ability to deliver its products in half the time of some of its competitors has also helped to boost sales. The company has clients in the automotive, military, medical, and aerospace industries.

Established in 1947, Hedalloy has been at its Slavic Village location since the early 1950s. The company had considered relocating to the eastern suburbs to expand. Support from Slavic Village Development and Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland, as well as a zoning permit granted by Cleveland, aided its decision to stay.

Hedalloy is a family-owned company. John Susa, Sr. began working at the company in 1960 and bought the firm in 1991. In addition to his son Joe, Mr. Susa‘s wife Eleanor is the bookkeeper and his son John, Jr. is the Vice President.


Source: Joe Susa
Writer: Lee Chilcote

statewide tour shows off growing power of green energy

The ninth annual Green Energy Ohio Tour, held last weekend at 260 businesses and homes across the state, featured more than 160 solar, wind and green energy projects in Northeast Ohio. Yet while education was the tour's primary goal, it also communicated a critical, attention-grabbing memo to policymakers: This fast-growing industry is driving development and job creation in Ohio.

"With some of our legislators currently doubting the value of renewable energy, our tour sent a very strong message," says Bill Spratley, Executive Director of Green Energy Ohio. "The green energy industry is about creating jobs, and that seems to be one thing that resonates with this administration."

The renewable energy, energy efficiency and green design projects on the tour created or retained more than 2,000 jobs, according to the Ohio Energy Resources Division. In the first quarter of 2011, Ohio was also ranked number two among U.S. states in solar panel and wind turbine parts production.

Spratley says that large projects such as Lincoln Electric's wind turbine, as well as the growing number of homes and commercial businesses using solar panels to slash their energy bills, reveal an industry that's finally gaining traction.

"People now understand green energy, and they're going from 'curious' to 'serious,'" says Spratley. "We see people taking notes, particularly at solar homes, and then a year or two later I'll see them with their own solar homes."

Spratley added that Cleveland has "really stepped up" since the American Solar Energy Society brought its national conference -- and 5,000 people -- here in 2006. "People were very impressed with the enthusiasm in Cleveland," he says. "Now we have solar panels on Progressive Field, the Great Lakes Science Center, the Cleveland Musem of Art and many other locations."

Among the many Northeast Ohio projects featured on the 2011 tour were the Lincoln Electric wind turbine, Rockefeller Park Solar Demonstration, PNC SmartHome and Joseph McCullough Building at the Cleveland Institute of Art.


Source: Bill Spratley
Writer: Lee Chilcote

the next generation of manufacturing is here, thogus president says

When it comes to manufacturing facilities, the first things to come to mind are not state-of-the-art gyms, free personal trainers and tech-savvy employees. Yet Thogus, a national provider of plastic injection molding services based in Avon Lake, is no ordinary manufacturer.

"The perception of manufacturing facilities is that they're full of smokestacks, dirty and capital-intensive," Matt Hlavin, President of Thogus, told the audience at last week's sold out TEDxCLE conference. "We've created a culture in which everyone is an innovator, and we want our employees to have a work-life balance."

Thogus, founded in 1950 as a traditional tool and dye shop, got into the plastics industry in 1958. Hlavin joined the company in the late 90s and took over as President in 2009. In the past 15 years, Thogus has reinvented itself as a leader in the growing field of customized plastic injection molding.

"Today, our society is not about mass production, it's about mass customization," Hlavin said. "We're the next generation of manufacturing -- companies like ours take a customer's idea and help them to create it."

Since taking the helm, Hlavin has worked to develop the next generation of manufacturing employee by training his workers in the latest technology and providing a clean, modern work environment. Today, Thogus employees use crowd-sourcing to develop and test products, employ social media to communicate their latest product innovations, and maintain an ongoing rapport with customers. "We can make a customized iPhone cover in 45 minutes," Hlavin said.

As another example of Thogus' innovative products, Hlavin cited a device that will help autistic children to predict when they will get uncomfortable in their environment. The technology will help them to lead healthier and more normal lives.

Reinventing Thogus wasn't easy. After making a decision to get out of the automotive business and focus solely on plastic injection molding, Hlavin reduced his workforce by more than half. "This helped us to become a more agile company and go after the next generation of employee."


Source: Matt Hlavin
Writer: Lee Chilcote




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