TRAVERSE CITY — Technology talk only goes so far.
More than 38 manufacturers representing 28 different companies are scheduled to attend the Industry 4.0 Technology Showcase at Northwestern Michigan College’s Parsons-Stulen Building. The event is scheduled for Thursday from 9-11 a.m.
Collaborative robots, smart sensors and 3-D printers will be some of the technology 40 participants will be able to interact with at the event.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for our industry partners to see the technology first-hand,” said Jason Slade, the director of NMC’s technical division. “They’ve heard us talk about it. But to see it, touch it and demo it will be important.”
“We’re really excited to get our manufacturing partners here so they can learn and collaborate,” said Betsy Williams, senior business development advisor with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center in Traverse City.
The Industry 4.0 Technology Showcase is a partnership with Networks Northwest, NMC and the MMTC. It was made possible by a $150,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to Networks Northwest.
Slade, who on Dec. 1 will become NMC’s vice president of strategic initiatives, said the Nov. 11 event is the “outreach piece for the grant.” The second part of the grant will update NMC’s manufacturing lab.
Mike O’Connor, technical instructor at NMC, said the lab has already received a collaborative robot and is awaiting delivery of a computer numerical control mill as part of the upgrades.
The updated lab will allow local manufacturers to receive training on the updated technology and obtain industry credentials. Manufacturers will also be able to use the lab to do assessments and receive recommendations.
Slade and Williams said manufacturing technological advancements are even more crucial as the industry deals with labor shortages. Slade said Industry 4.0 is all about opening up “better skilled jobs” in the region.
“Industry 4.0 and new technology can really help us in the manufacturing world,” Williams said.
“It can also help with improving efficiencies,” Slade said.
After the two-hour showcase, NMC students and those from the Engineering Academy at the Northwest Education Services Career-Tech Center will have access to the same demonstrations from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 …….