The Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center Research and Development (OMIC R&D) continues to grow its company membership with the addition this month of the Japanese corporation Mitsubishi Materials Corporation. With a total now of eight manufacturing industry partners and three Oregon public universities, the Scappoose, Oregon based R&D facility is closer to its goal of building a world-class operation to develop advanced metals manufacturing technologies. Once operations commence later this year, OMIC R&D is expected to eventually increase state and regional commercial productivity in manufacturing and stimulate economic growth and development.

Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (MMC), whose main headquarters are based in Tokyo, Japan, focuses on providing solutions in manufacturing process technologies. They manufacture application-specific cutting tools for a range of metal working industries including Aerospace, Medical, Energy and Transportation. MMC will join seven other OMIC R&D members in the Scappoose facility: ATI; Blount International; The Boeing Company; Daimler Trucks North America; Hangsterfer’s Laboratories, Inc.; Silver Eagle Manufacturing; and Vigor; and three universities, Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech); Oregon State University (OSU); and Portland State University (PSU).

Bill Gerry, chair of the OMIC R&D Board of Governors said, “We welcome Mitsubishi Materials to the OMIC R&D partnership and know that they will broaden our expertise in cutting tools and processes. As a corporation that puts quality number one, they will add great value to the innovation environment that we are creating with this impressive group of organizations. The OMIC R&D model focuses research on helping indigenous industries increase competitiveness while creating a real partnership with and integration into the local economy. The Board looks forward to the value that we know Mitsubishi Materials Corporation will bring to this collaborative environment.”

OMIC R&D is the fifteenth such research center established with Boeing leadership worldwide, and the first Boeing has sponsored in the United States. Its mission is to bring together manufacturing companies and higher education in an innovation environment where “outside-in” applied research with faculty and university students solves real problems for advanced manufacturers while training the next generation of engineers and technologists.

Akira Osada, general manager of Aerospace department of Advanced Materials & Tools Company, Mitsubishi Materials Corporation said, “We are proud to join with the other OMIC R&D partners in this important manufacturing center. All of us gain from the sharing of expertise and equipment, as we innovate together to produce a multiplier effect for our organizations, and the students who are learning and practicing on site.”

Besides their membership contributions, MMC will be supplying manufacturing cutting tools and help the Center develop top quality cutting standards and conditions on the manufacturing floor.

Senator Betsy Johnson, a key supporter of the Center said, “As OMIC R&D develops we expect that it will generate new business and infrastructure development, simultaneously training students in professional internship experiences that will contribute to a stronger manufacturing resource in Oregon and the region. I welcome Mitsubishi Materials Corporation to Scappoose.”

OMIC will coordinate its R&D facility research projects with hands-on “earn and learn” training programs led by Portland Community College, to be located in a nearby facility that PCC is building. The PCC-OMIC Training Center, scheduled to open in fall 2019, will emphasize craftsmanship, professionalism, and placing graduates into high-wage, high-demand jobs. Its programs will be based on an apprenticeship type model, such that students can complete an associate degree or certificate leading to an advanced degree. While construction is under way on the center, PCC will have a temporary site at Scappoose High School beginning in 2018, to offer some of the training programs.

OMIC has the strong support of trade unions, including the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, which recognize the importance of training and apprenticeship programs in growing high-skill, high-wage manufacturing jobs in Oregon via innovation and industry growth. Metals manufacturing is a cornerstone industry for the Greater Portland area, with current employment estimated at nearly 28,000 and approximately 600 small, medium and large metals manufacturing companies. OMIC presents a significant opportunity for the retention and expansion of these firms and the workforce in the region.

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About the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center

OMIC is a world-class collaborative environment bringing together industry, higher education and government in partnership to develop new tools, techniques and technologies to address near-term manufacturing challenges through applied research and advanced technical training. OMIC is modeled after the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC) in partnership with Boeing in Sheffield, England. The collaborative partnership includes: AFL-CIO, Business Oregon, City of Scappoose, Columbia County, Columbia County Economic Team, Greater Portland Inc, Manufacturing 21, Portland Community College, Portland State University, Oregon Employment Department, Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership and Oregon State University.