According to Whiteside County EDD Director Gary Camarano, “The Virtual Incubator is a group of people, government bodies, academia, businesses and economic development organizations that can bring expertise on a number of different topics that businesses may find helpful in running their operations. The Virtual Incubator isn’t a physical location, but a network that can provide assistance. In MIT’s case they will provide additive manufacturing in the form of 3D printing to area businesses at cost. This can be a real benefit to manufacturers and entrepreneurs that are looking a cost effective and timely method for prototyping and testing.”
Chris Scott, MIT President explained, “3D printing – also known as additive manufacturing – turns digital 3D models into solid objects by building them up in layers. The technology was first invented in the 1980s, and since that time has been used for rapid prototyping (RP). However, in the last few years, 3D printing has additionally started to evolve into a next-generation manufacturing technology that has the potential to allow the local, on-demand production of final products and parts. We have the capabilities and people here who can do 3D printing and we want to share it with the community.”
Additive manufacturing and 3D printing are being heralded as a “third wave of the industrial revolution,” and can save businesses time, money and help them get products to market faster. 3D printing is evolving quickly and allows businesses to efficiently develop prototypes, test for functionality and design, customize products and eventually move to mass production.
Camarano added, “Having MIT join our Virtual Incubator is fantastic. They’ve great Engineering Technology and Network Administration programs, a sterling reputation, and are local. Bringing a capability like this to our area businesses can be a real benefit to the local economy, making our businesses more competitive.”
Whiteside County Board Chairman Jim Duffy said, “This is an example of the type of collaboration between the private and public sector we need to see. The ability to help our existing businesses with a service like this will strengthen our business competitiveness and make us stronger as a region. Regional partnerships like this can help drive our economic growth and I hope to see more this type of collaboration.”
The County’s Virtual Incubator is in development and institutions such as Sauk Valley Community College, Northern Illinois University and Western Illinois University will be providing services in business plan development, government procurement, feasibility studies and Intellectual Property assistance. Private sector companies with expertise in areas like web design, search engine optimization and marketing are also being recruited. Camarano said, “It’s a work in progress and will grow over time. It will be a resource for the entire region, and we will be on the lookout for additional partners who can provide expertise in a number of fields.”
Businesses interested in MIT’s 3D printing services should contact Jason Long at 815.772.7218 x 216. Morrison Institute of Technology is an independent, co-ed, not-for-profit institution of higher learning, founded in 1973. The college offers a two year, Associate in Applied Science degree in Engineering Technology with concentrations in Highway and Building Construction, and Drafting Design and CAD; and an associate in Applied Science degree in Networking Administration. For information about Morrison Institute of Technology visit http://www.morrisontech.edu/. For information about Whiteside County’s Economic Development Department and its services contact the EDD at firstname.lastname@example.org.