Virtual Incubator

The Manufacturing Assistance Center’s Virtual Incubator®

What is the Virtual Incubator?

Typical business incubators offer start-up companies cheap space, shared office machinery and administrative assistance, hardly enough to ensure a successful endeavor. The Manufacturing Assistance Center’s Virtual Incubator is different – space is not the primary service offered. Start-up companies come with a product idea and some capital, the Virtual Incubator does the rest. At the Virtual Incubator, the resources of the Central Massachusetts Machining Alliance (CMMA), the Machining Alliance of America (MAA), Oak Ridge National Labs (ORNL), and the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MMEP) are brought together to help a company takes its product or idea from preliminary design through process planning, final design and into production. The idea behind the Virtual Incubator is to partner the knowledge and resources of local manufacturers and manufacturing assistance groups with start up companies in order to shorten the time it takes them to get their product idea into production. This avoids all of the non-productive efforts new start-ups must deal with in attempting to put a company in place prior to having a business. In this way everyone concentrates on their core competencies, doing what they do best. New companies incur less overhead and have people with a greater skill set at lower cost allowing them to grow faster and enjoy a greater chance of business success. Conversely, existing companies become part of the new company’s supply chain and subsequently improve sales. Employment increases and the local economy benefits.

What services does the MAC’s Virtual Incubator offer?

The box outlined in dotted lines in the graphic below describes the stages in the product development process for which the MAC’s Virtual Incubator offers assistance to companies.

The specific kinds of services which the MAC’s Virtual Incubator offers are listed below:

Production/Manufacturing Services

Final Design & Process Planning Services

Design for Manufacture Services

Value Analysis Services

Design for Environment Services

Technology in Design

Measurement of Design Quality

Companies in the MAC’s Virtual Incubator

Companies currently operating in the MAC’s Virtual Incubator are described below:

Advanced Technology Products

Principles of ATP created a new high speed, direct-drive starter generator for aircraft and hybrid automobiles. Lighter, stronger, more efficient and more reliable than existing power systems, this is a commercially available advanced technology and is starting to have an impact in aircraft auxiliary power units, aircraft support equipment, high-speed compressor drives, large hybrid electric vehicles and other markets. The company has its corporate offices at the Manufacturing Assistance Center and has utlilized a number of design and business services offered by the Virtual Incubator.

Uniform Metal Technology

Two MIT graduates developed a new patented manufacturing process designed to produce large amounts of high purity, non-agglomerated metal powders with a narrow size distribution and high quality level which can be customized for the type of needed particle. These very spherical, very carefully sized metal powders have a wide range of potential uses in such industries as metal injection molding. The company has its corporate offices at the Manufacturing Assistance Center and through the Virtual Incubator was able to find manufacturing space and assistance with environmental permitting issues at a local existing manufacturers site.

Materials Innovation, Inc.

This company has developed a unique patented process that applies insulating inorganic coatings to pure iron particles. Precise control of coating thickness yields soft magnetic materials with predictable, low core losses. These materials make it possible to design electromagnetic devices with highly desirable properties such as fast response actuators and solenoids. This company has a field sales office at the Manufacturing Assistance Center and has used the resources of the Virtual Incubator to access technical assistance from experts at the Oak Ridge National Labs and to solve some problems associated with attracting an experienced workforce and dealing with issues surrounding ISO 9000 registration.

Insight Neuro-imaging Systems, Inc.

This company is involved in the design and eventual manufacture of equipment and techniques, which will significantly expand the uses, and effectiveness of neuro-imaging technology. Their product involves a small animal restraint and sensor unit, which can be used within a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine. The important feature of this unique device is that the animal can be held in the machine without anesthesia, thus allowing for the collection of much more valuable information on the action of certain drugs and compounds on the animal’s awake brain functions than was previously able to be extracted from tests on anesthetized animals. The design of the device also allows for tests which are significantly more sensitive and of higher resolution to be undertaken. The company has its corporate offices at the Manufacturing Assistance Center. As INS prepares to begin manufacturing production devices, the Virtual Incubator is helping out by providing assistance with manufacturing and design for manufacturability services offered by the MMEP and the Machining Alliance of America.

Let us help you bring your product to market…………

For more information about how the Manufacturing Assistance Center’s Virtual Incubator can help you bring your product idea into production reality, contact us at:

Manufacturing Assistance Center – Virtual Incubator
60 Prescott Street
Worcester, MA 01605
Tel: 508-831-7020
Fax: 508-831-7215

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