Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joined Marlborough Mayor Arthur G. Vigeant and Rep. Carmine L. Gentile to announce $3.7 million in new grants from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative
(M2I2), the Commonwealth’s program to invest in innovative advanced manufacturing projects.
Polito announced three awards that involve partners and project sites across the Commonwealth, including MetroWest, Merrimack Valley, South Coast, North Shore, and Western Massachusetts.
Lt. Gov. Polito announced the awards at Sheaumann Laser, a 30-person firm based in Marlborough that specializes in the design and manufacture of semiconductor lasers and modules for industrial, defense, medical, and printing applications.
“The M2I2 program invests in projects that reflect the collaborative spirit of our state and highlight Massachusetts’ nation-leading innovation economy,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “These awards support strong business to business partnerships that bring together innovators from across the state and we are pleased to continue to support their continued growth and development in this sector.”
The Baker-Polito Administration has committed more than $100 million in funding to the M2I2 effort, which provides a vehicle for the Commonwealth to invest in the national Manufacturing USA program and advance innovation and job growth through collaboration among companies, universities, national labs, government, incubators, accelerators, and other academic/training institutions. To date, the M2I2 program has invested more than $50 million.
“Massachusetts’ advanced manufacturing strength isn’t confined to one city or region, rather it emanates from one end of the state to the other,” said Lt. Gov. Polito. “M2I2 grants are going to workplaces where technology, sensors, and innovative equipment are integrated into the manufacturing line. Through these awards, we’re investing in our homegrown manufacturers, supporting innovative partnerships and investing in high-tech tools that will help drive future job and economic growth.”
Under the Manufacturing USA program, Massachusetts is part of the national effort to develop revolutionary functional fibers and textiles and is participating in regional manufacturing innovation in robotics, integrated photonics, flexible hybrid electronics, and biopharma. M2I2 awards support critical research and development infrastructure in four of these sectors, working closely with each of the national manufacturing institutes, including Next Flex (flexible hybrid electronics), AIM Photonics (integrated photonics), ARM (robotics), and Cambridge-based AFFOA (advanced functional fabrics).
“While each of these awards is targeted to one of our key focus areas - photonics, robotics, and flexible-hybrid electronics – we also recognized how these investments could help impact the Commonwealth’s economic success in several legacy industries where Massachusetts has been a national or global leader, including commercial fishing, healthcare, and defense,”said Ira Moskowitz, director of Advanced Manufacturing Programs at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and the program manager for M2I2. “Our hope is that these awards not only spur growth at the program partner sites but also have direct benefits to these target sectors and other employers in the Commonwealth, amplifying the impact of these investments.”
Lt. Gov. Polito announced $ $3,773,400 in awards to three projects:
Sheaumann Laser Inc. (Marlborough) - $2,345,000 - Project Name: AIM-compatible DFB, SOA, and high power integrated laser and amplifier devices spanning 780nm to 1800nm;
SI2 (Billerica), Peerless Precision (Westfield), XENON (Wilmington), UMass Lowell (Lowell) - $928,400 - Project Name: Manufacture of Digitally Printed Flex-Hybrid Electronics Systems on Large Complex Surfaces;
Northeastern University (Boston) - $500,000 - Project Name: Foster Innovation for Seafood Handling (FISH)
“While other semiconductor laser foundries have moved overseas to reduce production costs and maintain a competitive advantage in the market, this solution has never been an option for Sheaumann Laser, because we take pride in providing our customers with high-quality laser products that are grown, processed, and packaged in the United States,” Sheaumann Laser President John Gary Sousa said. “The M2I2 capital grant helps immensely in supporting Sheaumann’s passion for innovative technology by helping broaden our capabilities in laser growth to include InP wavelengths (1120nm-1875nm) to our current catalog of GaAs wavelengths (780-1080nm). The M2I2 grant will also enable us to increase jobs at our facility by 35-40 percent, helping meet the requirements of the AIM Photonics’ Initiative. In addition, the expansion of new technology and personnel will help Sheaumann nearly double its current product line, allowing us to continue to compete with overseas foundries while maintaining all production activities in Massachusetts.”
According to the Manufacturing in Massachusetts, 10% of the Commonwealth’s total economic output is tied to manufacturing and the Commonwealth exported $26 billion in manufactured goods in 2016 alone. Roughly 250,000 employees work in the State’s manufacturing sector, comprising 7.8% of the total workforce in the state.
Gov. Baker announced $7 million in M2I2 grants during the ribbon-cutting event for UMass Lowell’s Fabric Discovery Center, awards which went to programs in each of the four target areas of the M2I2 program.
In October, the Lt. Gov. also announced a unique partnership with Massachusetts-based software firm PTC to help local small- and medium-sized manufacturers gain access to an industrial innovation software platform that will help boost their operations. In addition to being the national home for the AFFOA headquarters, the Commonwealth’s investments through M2I2 in the flexible-hybrid electronics manufacturing space led to the formation of the NextFlex Massachusetts Node, a move that will help accelerate the development of the manufacturing workforce and promote sustainable advanced manufacturing ecosystems, and enabling the state’s representation on the NextFlex Governing Council.