The Industry 4.0 Accelerator of Troy’s Automation Alley has announced corporate partnerships with Michigan-based manufacturing and technology operations.
Powered by Lawrence Technological University’s Centrepolis Accelerator in Southfield and the Lean Rocket Lab in Jackson, the founding partners include Lear Corp., Whirlpool Corp., DENSO, Siemens, Magna, Faurecia, Comau, Design Systems Inc., Mirari, Electro-Matic Ventures, TAC, Nippon Piston Ring, ITR Solutions, Kundinger, Orbitform, Maintenance Technologies Consulting, Bosch Rexroth, the Jackson Area Manufacturers Association, and others.
“The Industry 4.0 Accelerator is a demonstration of what’s possible when forward-thinking organizations recognize the opportunities to partner together and advance a stronger ecosystem for everyone,” says Tom Kelly, executive director and CEO of Automation Alley. “We’re growing talent and expanding resources to make Michigan’s manufacturing industry more secure than it’s ever been.”
The accelerator works to attract global startups that are developing manufacturing technologies and connect them with Michigan’s manufacturing ecosystem. Startups that are accepted into the accelerator receive capital, programming, and contracted services from partner organizations.
“From the beginning, our vision was twofold: attract, invest in, and develop top industry 4.0 startups and help them deploy their technologies into Michigan’s robust manufacturing economy,” says Brandon Marken, founder and CEO of the Lean Rocket Lab. “We believed this would create value for the startups, economic impact for the state, and operational resiliency and a built-in innovation pipeline for our manufacturers.”
Magna and Lear Corp. are Tier 1 manufacturers. Founded in February, the 4.0 Accelerator program is the first of its kind in the U.S. and works to help small and medium-sized companies as they implement digital changes.
“Our corporate partners are critical to the program’s success,” says Dan Radomski, director of the Centrepolis Accelerator. “We rely on the close relationships we have with these manufacturers to identify opportunities for catalytic matchmaking. We give the corporate partners exclusive access to the I4.0 technology companies in our pipeline based on innovations they’ve identified interest in. In return, our partners provide feedback, expertise, validation and, oftentimes, the pathway for technology demos, product development partnerships and, in some cases, even investment.
“These corporate partners represent small, medium, and large manufacturers and already are proving to be instrumental to validate these best-in-class global I4.0 technologies in a real-world manufacturing environment.”
Automation Alley is a World Economic Forum Advanced Manufacturing Hub and nonprofit Industry 4.0 knowledge center. It facilitates public-private partnerships by connecting industry, education, and government to fuel Michigan’s economy and innovation.
“Industry 4.0 is the natural progression of Magna’s deep commitment to world-class manufacturing, and we look forward to forming connections through the Industry 4.0 Accelerator,” says Josh Berg, director of innovation venture development at Magna. “We can make a big difference to the bottom line with increased reliability and production efficiency, and with cleaner, safer manufacturing we can contribute to a more sustainable future for our planet.”
Written for DBusiness magazine by Grace Turner.