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ONU part of $3 million grant proposal for establishment of Materials Deposition Center

Mar 13, 2008

The Ohio Northern University T.J. Smull College of Engineering, in conjunction with Rhodes State College, American Trim and the city of Lima, have announced their submission of a $3 million grant proposal to the state of Ohio's Third Frontier Project to establish a Materials Deposition Center (MDC). Rhodes State College is serving as the lead organization for the grant proposal and has been successful in prior collaborative efforts in bringing Third Frontier resources to the community.

The grant proposal is being submitted to the Third Frontier program's Wright Projects component, which provides grants to support specifically defined near-term commercialization projects requiring major capital acquisitions and improvements at Ohio higher education institutions and non-profit research organizations. To qualify, projects must involve one or more Ohio companies and be in the areas of advanced materials, power and propulsion, information technology and instruments, controls and electronics.

Dr. Eric T. Baumgartner, dean of the T.J. Smull College of Engineering, said, "ONU's specific involvement will be to provide expertise in the area of instrumentation, controls and robotics. We are enthusiastic about this opportunity to be directly involved in stimulating the growth of high-tech manufacturing jobs and capacity in this region."

The Materials Deposition Center, to be located at American Trim's Grand Avenue facilities, will complement the first Third Frontier project implemented in Lima, titled the Advanced Materials Commercialization Center (AMCC). The MDC will focus on developing and applying engineered coatings to flat materials before they are formed into final objects.

The first product intended for production at the MDC is a faux stainless steel sheet that Steve Hatkevich, American Trim director of research and development, says has enormous customer interest in the appliance industry.

"The market for this initial product is over $90 million annually," Hatkevich added. "We believe that hitting a home run with this product will result in 90 new manufacturing jobs."

Hatkevich added that American Trim and other project collaborators are committing $3 million in matching resources to the $6 million project.

Earlier this month, ONU also formed a partnership with the city of Lima to build and operate a research and development center in Lima. The center, which is known as the Ohio Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Center, will be located on a site that is being developed through a grant the city of Lima received from the Ohio Job Ready Site Program.