The Tech Valley Center of Gravity (TVCOG) in Troy, New York has officially opened The Prototyping Center thanks to a 2016 Manufacturing Innovation Grant from FuzeHub’s Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Innovation Fund. The $75,000 investment has allowed TVCOG to purchase specialized equipment that includes a 5’x10’ CNC gantry router, 2’x4’ vacuum former, and 3’x4’ 130W laser cutter. The FuzeHub Grant has also helped build out the facility to encourage innovation within the manufacturing community. In addition, TVCOG has been designated a certified 16v business incubator by New York State, simultaneously launching The Manufacturing Incubator, propelled by IMC, with funding from NYSTAR.
“The Prototyping Center and The Manufacturing Incubator go hand in hand,” noted Holly Cargill-Cramer, executive director of the TVCOG. “Many members develop exciting ideas and simple prototypes in the makerspace and need a facility like The Prototyping Center to help them take those to the next level. The Manufacturing Incubator is a mid-phase program, so that can be the next step for them. They have a business plan in place and a prototype in development. Coaching from the incubator to mitigate risk and equipment in The Prototyping Center are critical to help move those ideas forward,” added Cargill-Cramer.
“One of the key differentiating factors of both The Prototyping Center and The Manufacturing Incubator is their accessibility to the public,” said Thad Casey, incubator program director at TVCOG and president of Innovative Manufacturing Consultants (IMC). Accessing this highly specialized equipment can be challenging and cost prohibitive for entrepreneurs and smaller companies, so being able to use these resources at a much lower cost provides tremendous benefits,” added Casey. TVCOG membership, with access to the makerspace equipment, is available to the public. Members wishing to use equipment in The Prototyping Center must complete special operational and safety training, which varies by equipment.
“In keeping with the mission of the Innovation Fund, FuzeHub is proud to be a part of the success of the launch of The Prototyping Center at the Center of Gravity,” noted Julianne Clouthier, industry engagement manager for FuzeHub. “The staff at TVCOG worked diligently to ensure The Prototyping Center appropriately met the needs of its members and the startup community, so it was really impressive to see the end result of all the hard work of everyone involved,” Clouthier added.
For more information on the Prototyping Center, please visit http://www.tvcog.net/prototyping-center/.