A Visit to The ARMC

OMEP is proud to be a member of the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center (OMIC R&D) in Scappoose, Oregon. OMIC is a Research and Development Center “focused on applying new technologies and processes for industrial competitive advantage and academic growth, while inspiring and educating the next generation’s manufacturing workforce.”

This unique organization was modeled after the Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC) established with Boeing at Sheffield University in England. The AMRC empowers local manufacturers of any size to capitalize on learning new “techniques, technologies, and processes to carry out world-leading research” within their respective fields. Learn how OMIC R&D is accomplishing these goals in the video below.

Recently, Craig Campbell (OMIC R&D’s Executive Director) and Josh Koch (OMIC R&D’s Operations Lead) visited the AMRC and returned with insights on how to keep Oregon’s manufacturing industry moving forward, using lessons learned from the AMRC.

How are the AMRC and OMIC R&D similar and how are they different?

Craig:

We have a very similar starting point as far as size is concerned. But OMIC R&D has three Universities in our partnership whereas the AMRC has the University of Sheffield. I believe OMIC R&D started with greater University resources. However, I think the most poignant difference is that when Adrian Allen and Keith Ridgway started the AMRC, they had no example to follow. They had to envision something that had never been done before and make it happen. So, they had no yardstick to compare against.

We have the great good fortune to know that success is possible because they have shown that it can be done and it can have a huge impact on manufacturing.

How has the AMRC impacted its manufacturing and business community and what can OMIC R&D learn from the AMRC about community and industry engagement?

Craig:

The AMRC has made direct industry involvement an integral part of the R&D process. That is a lesson we have taken to heart here at OMIC R&D.

We don’t want members to just pay their dues and wait for researchers to develop a result. We want and need our members to bring their expertise and experience to the table, roll up their sleeves and collaborate with our other members and researchers so we can push the envelope of what our research efforts can impact.

I have to say, it is working!

Josh:

The AMRC revitalized an industrial landscape. Although we don’t have 97% unemployment, Scappoose and Columbia County is known as a ‘bedroom community’ for surrounding areas. We are looking to keep highly skilled people in the area and create local jobs in manufacturing.

OMIC R&D can learn from the AMRC and how they turned their area into an industrial mecca.

What are next steps for OMIC R&D?

Craig:

Small and medium-sized manufacturers constitute 80% of the manufacturing strength of this region. Historically manufacturing has been a strong backbone to the economy.

We at OMIC R&D need to find meaningful ways of providing value to those small and medium-sized companies if we are going to have a real impact on metals manufacturing. Thankfully we have a strong partnership with OMEP to help us find those opportunities.

The OMEP team is excited to continue partnering on projects with OMIC R&D to further advance the many manufacturers who make up this incredibly important industry.