YOUNGSTOWN - Architects are designing plans for a Youngstown-area business park that will be occupied by about 15 Fortune 500 companies and about 1,500 employees, according to the president of M-7 Technologies in Youngstown.
Michael Garvey, president of the Youngstown-based high-tech manufacturing and research and development company, spoke briefly about his plans Wednesday during a Washington, D.C., panel discussion about advanced manufacturing.
The discussion, presented by Washington think tank Brookings Institute, was webcast from D.C. Also participating was Ed Morris, the director of Youngstown-based America Makes: National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or NAMII. Morris did not offer comment about the business park plan.
Garvey could not be reached for further comment after hours.
"We are in the process of architecturing and building a 21st century business park that will co-locate the value chain suppliers of 3-D printing so we can compress the technology intersection between the different contributing technologies that result in a final product of three-dimensional printing," Garvey said.
Those companies could provide services like design, engineering or distribution, Garvey said, but released no further details about the location or timeline.
"We will be building this park in Youngstown with about 15 innovation centers populated primarily by Fortune 500 companies. Each center will have approximately 100 employees," Garvey said.
The panel discussion was focusing on advances being made in additive manufacturing, particularly at the Youngstown's NAMII. NAMII is the first manufacturing hub established by President Barack Obama toward his goal of a network of private-public hubs to help America grow its manufacturing base.
Additive manufacturing, also known as 3-D printing, is developing technology that builds up objects, usually by laying down many thin layers on top of each other. In contrast, traditional machining creates objects by cutting material away. A wide variety of manufacturing industries, from aircraft to medical devices and from electronics to customized consumer goods, already use applications of the new technologies.
During Wednesday's discussion, Morris explained the importance of re-connecting manufacturing research and design with the shop floor where products are made. This connection, he said, has been lost as manufacturing plants were moved off shore, but reshoring plants to the U.S. is helping to combat the problem.
"Location does matter. Geography does matter," Garvey said, in speaking about the plan for what he called the 21st Century business park. "This is a natural evolution to Michael Porter's cluster theory, and this is just a natural growth, and we are very excited to be the test kitchen in this arrangement for the federal government, and we take that responsibility seriously, and we are going to make things happen."
Garvey's company, M-7 Technologies, serves a diverse customer base from automotive to nuclear power, with the goal of finding ways for those customers to reduce manufacturing costs and time, improve quality and reduce time required to repair heavy industrial products by using high-tech digital data bases and measurements systems.