MTAP Enables Industry-Academic Alliances

mtap2Four small Connecticut companies are partnering with UConn engineering faculty members and staff to advance their manufacturing processes, thanks to a special program established by UConn’s Office of Economic Development called the Manufacturing Technical Assistance Program (MTAP).  MTAP, now in its second year, is aimed at supporting Connecticut’s manufacturing sector with new opportunities for revenue and employment growth at smaller Connecticut companies. The MTAP is funded through the support of the Connecticut General Assembly and Governor Dannel P. Malloy.  

“This program is helping to spur innovation within the state’s manufacturing sector. MTAP allows the university to play a leadership role in helping the private sector access the innovative research that is being conducted on campus,” says UConn’s Vice President for Economic Development, Dr. Mary Holz- Clause.

During its first year of operation in 2013, UConn’s MTAP – administered by the Office of Economic Development – awarded funds to six teams of small, innovative manufacturers and their UConn research partners.

The four 2013 MTAP recipients partnering with School of Engineering researchers include Storrs, CT based Amastan Inc., a manufacturer of advanced nanomaterials used in U.S. growth sectors and defense industries such as optics, fuel cells, missile domes, armored glass and lasers; Uncasville, CT based Faria R&D a research subsidiary of the Thomas G. Faria Corporation, whose state-of-the-art gauges are used in commercial, industrial, recreational, military and marine markets; Meriden, CT based Jonal Laboratories which designs and produces seals, including high temperature silicone rubber seals, o-rings and elastomer-to-metal bonding products used in the aerospace industry; and Foster Corporation, a manufacturer of biomedical polymers and compounds for the biotech, medical device and pharmaceutical industries.

Amastan President and CTO Dr. Kamal Hadidi says the MTAP-funded work was delayed by a switch in their UConn faculty collaborator. The project is now back on track with the assistance of Mechanical Engineering associate professor Dr. Ugur Pasaogullari, an expert in multi-physics multi-scale computational modeling who is developing a process model involving a plasma torch used in the company’s manufacturing operations, with the aim of improving the process efficiency and usable torch life.

David Hickey, President and CEO of Faria Corporation, notes that the company’s 2013 MTAP is helping to shorten the company’s time to market for an innovative Android operating system technology.

Faria R&D partnered with Computer Science & Engineering graduate student Anas Al-Okaily and undergraduate student Amadeusz Nasuta, whose efforts are overseen by Instrumentation & Computer Engineer John Fikiet of UConn’s Engineering Electronics Lab.  Mr. Fikiet explains that the project involves the development of a working prototype of a novel “Mach 7” instrument capable of accepting almost any input parameter, from analog to various digital formats, and displaying and storing the data.  The device must also connect to special features such as GPS, map programs, and multimedia as needed.  Mr. Fikiet notes that the complex, ongoing project involves both hardware and software of differing formats, and when it is complete, “the instrument will be state-of-the art for data collection and display of information used in military, commercial and recreational markets.”

Assistant professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Anson Ma is partnering with Jonal Laboratories to enhance the properties of the base rubber used extensively in the company’s seals for different industry segments, according to Jonal Laboratories’ President, alumnus Marc Nemeth (B.S. Accounting ’74; MBA ’84).  Commenting on the MTAP, Mr. Nemeth remarks, “We have been very pleased with the work carried out with MTAP support and plan to continue our collaboration with Dr. Ma, who we have come to regard as an important member of our team. Certainly, we expect to expand our interactions with UConn in the years ahead: we view this as the beginning of a deep relationship with UConn,” he says.  

Foster Corporation of Putnam, CT is working with professor emeritus Montgomery Shaw and Dr. Ma to develop a novel dosage form for drug delivery.  

Also receiving 2013 MTAP funds were Alphachromics Inc. and Reconstructive Solutions.

To learn more about MTAP, please visit http://innovation.uconn.edu/programs/mtap/ or contact Natalie D’Oyen, Associate Director for UConn’s Technology Exchange Portal at natalie.doyen@uconn.edu for details. 

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