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MFG4: A Profusion of Fresh Ideas

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Iconic manufacturing city will host a smorgasbord of innovation and creativity from four crucial industries 

By Sarah A. Webster
Editor in Chief

Fusion isn’t just a delight to your palette or ears when it mixes food or sounds together in creative new ways.

It’s also good for business.

Fusion, where distinct elements meet, can also result in the cross-pollination of ideas, mixing up a potential cocktail of innovation.

That’s the idea behind MFG4, to be held from May 8–10 in Hartford, CT. Hartford was a major manufacturing hub from the 19th Century until the mid-20th Century. (It’s best known manufacturer was Pope Manufacturing Co., which started in 1877 in the Connecticut River Valley and made bicycles under the Columbia brand, as well as motorcycles and automobiles).  

For MFG4, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers is bringing together a mix of manufacturing engineering professionals from the aerospace, defense, medical and energy industries to share ideas across industries. Technologies, processes, materials and applications used in one industry may help solve challenges in another.

An all-star lineup from the aerospace, defense, medical and energy industries are on board as keynote speakers, Learning Lounge leaders, exhibitors and sponsors.

Attendees can come and stick to one of the four conference tracks that spotlight the focus industries: aerospace, defense, medical or energy. Or, they can come and mix it up, seeing what fresh ideas various industries have to offer.

Among the esteemed keynoters:

Neal Orringer, director of manufacturing, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy. Orringer has served in senior national security and economic policy positions for more than 13 years. Appointed in 2010, he helped the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense stand up the newly created Manufacturing & Industrial Base Policy (MIBP) office, focused on ensuring the defense supply base is capable of meeting warfighter requirements at the best value for the taxpayer.

Jim Adams, deputy chief technologist, NASA
. Adams came to the Office of the Chief Technologist from NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. There, he served as the Deputy Director of the Planetary Science Division, overseeing the Discovery, New Frontiers, Lunar Science and Mars programs. He was responsible for the development of several key technologies, including Ion Propulsion, Radioisotope Power Systems and Pu-238 production strategies.

Gary S. Falwell, technical business development leader, Accellent. Falwell has over 20 years of technical leadership and project management in medical device design and development, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, with over 19 issued patents in the medical device field. He currently works as a business development executive with a strong working knowledge of all technical aspects of the medical device contract manufacturing process. During his seven-year tenure at Accellent, he has held several positions—design & development engineering manager, manufacturing engineering manager, and senior manufacturing engineer. He has been responsible for all project phases, including concept development, prototyping, detail design, DFM/DFA, FMEA, tooling, design verification, clinical builds, validation, transfer of new products to manufacturing and conformance to FDA and ISO requirements.

Frank Wolak, Vice President, FuelCell Energy Inc. FuelCell Energy, Inc. is a Danbury, CT-based manufacturer and marketer of advanced ultra-clean fuel cell power systems. Wolak has better than 25 years of experience in many facets of the energy industry with both corporate and entrepreneurial organizations, including oil and gas operations, power plant investment and development, energy services as well as independent management consulting with renewable and emerging energy companies.

For more information about schedule, presentations and exhibits at MFG4, go to ME 






This article was first published in the May 2012 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.  Click here for PDF





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