Technology Showcase set for Thursday | the BIZ

TRAVERSE CITY – technology talk only goes so far.

More than 38 manufacturers representing 28 different companies will take part in the Industry 4.0 technology show in the Parsons Stulen building at Northwestern Michigan College. The event is scheduled for Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Collaborative robots, smart sensors and 3D printers will be some of the technologies that 40 attendees will be able to interact with at the event.


“It will be a great opportunity for our industrial partners to see the technology firsthand,” said Jason Slade, director of engineering at NMC. “You heard us talk about it. But to see it, to touch it and to demonstrate it, it will be important. “

“We’re excited to bring our manufacturing partners here so they can learn and collaborate,” said Betsy Williams, senior business development advisor at Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center in Traverse City.

The Industry 4.0 Technology Showcase is a partnership with Networks Northwest, NMC and the MMTC. This was made possible by a $ 150,000 grant from Michigan Economic Development Corporation to Networks Northwest.

Slade, who will become NMC’s vice president of strategic initiatives on December 1, said the November 11 event was the “outreach piece for the grant.” The second part of the grant will update NMC’s manufacturing laboratory.

Mike O’Connor, technical instructor at NMC, said the lab has already received a collaborative robot and is waiting for a computerized grinder to be delivered as part of the upgrades.

The updated lab will allow local manufacturers to receive training on the updated technology and industry-specific references. Manufacturers can also use the laboratory to conduct assessments and obtain recommendations.

Slade and Williams said technological advances in manufacturing are even more important as the industry struggles with labor shortages. According to Slade, Industry 4.0 is about creating “better qualified jobs” in the region.

“Industry 4.0 and new technologies can really help us in the manufacturing world,” said Williams.

“It can also help improve efficiency,” said Slade.

After the two-hour showcase, NMC students and those from the Engineering Academy will have access to the same demonstrations at the Northwest Education Services Career-Tech Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

While demonstrations will be shown as part of discussions at the Industry 4.0 Technology Showcase, Chuck Werner will represent the MMTC Plymouth office at the event. Werner is Manager of Operational Excellence at MMTC and is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

Lean Six Sigma is “a process improvement method designed to eliminate problems, eliminate waste and inefficiency, and improve working conditions to better serve customers,” according to

“It’s about continuous improvement,” said Williams. “This man really knows his stuff.”

With the Industry 4.0 Technology Showcase falling on Veteran’s Day, the event will sing NMC student Bailey Noble’s national anthem. There will be other patriotic displays as part of the presentation, too, Williams said.

“Lots of veterans are in production,” she said. “But it’s important to all of us anyway.”

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