MARLBOROUGH – January 17, 2019 – Today, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined Marlborough Mayor Arthur G. Vigeant and Representative Carmine L. Gentile to announce $3.7 million in new grants from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2), the Commonwealth’s program to invest in innovative advanced manufacturing projects. The Lt. Governor announced three awards that involve partners and project sites across the Commonwealth, including MetroWest, Merrimack Valley, South Coast, North Shore, and Western Massachusetts, highlighting the statewide impact of advanced manufacturing.
Lt. Governor Polito announced the awards at Sheaumann Laser, a 30-person firm based in Marlborough that specializes in the design and manufacture of semiconductor lasers and modules for industrial, defense, medical, and printing applications.
“The M2I2 program invests in projects that reflect the collaborative spirit of our state and highlight Massachusetts’ nation leading innovation economy,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These awards support strong business to business partnerships that bring together innovators from across the state and we are pleased to continue to support their continued growth and development in this sector.”
The Baker-Polito Administration has committed more than $100 million in funding to the M2I2 effort, which provides a vehicle for the Commonwealth to invest in the national Manufacturing USA program and advance innovation and job growth through collaboration among companies, universities, national labs, government, incubators, accelerators, and other academic/training institutions. To date, the M2I2 program has invested more than $50 million.
“Massachusetts’ advanced manufacturing strength isn’t confined to one city or region, rather it emanates from one end of the state to the other,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “M2I2 grants are going to workplaces where technology, sensors, and innovative equipment are integrated into the manufacturing line. Through these awards, we’re investing in our homegrown manufacturers, supporting innovative partnerships and investing in high-tech tools that will help drive future job and economic growth.”
Under the Manufacturing USA program, Massachusetts is part of the national effort to develop revolutionary functional fibers and textiles, and is participating in regional manufacturing innovation in robotics, integrated photonics, flexible hybrid electronics, and biopharma. M2I2 awards support critical research and development infrastructure in four of these sectors, working closely with each of the national manufacturing institutes, including Next Flex (flexible hybrid electronics), AIM Photonics (integrated photonics), ARM (robotics), and Cambridge-based AFFOA (advanced functional fabrics).
“While each of these awards is targeted to one of our key focus areas - photonics, robotics, and flexible-hybrid electronics – we also recognized how these investments could help impact the Commonwealth’s economic success in several legacy industries where Massachusetts has been a national or global leader, including commercial fishing, healthcare, and defense,” said Ira Moskowitz, Director of Advanced Manufacturing Programs at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and the program manager for M2I2. “Our hope is that these awards not only spur growth at the program partner sites, but also have direct benefits to these target sectors and other employers in the Commonwealth, amplifying the impact of these investments.”
Today, Lt. Governor Polito announced $ $3,773,400 in awards to three projects:
- Sheaumann Laser Inc. (Marlborough) - $2,345,000 - Project Name: AIM-compatible DFB, SOA, and high power integrated laser and amplifier devices spanning 780nm to 1800nm
- SI2 (Billerica), Peerless Precision (Westfield), XENON (Wilmington), UMass Lowell (Lowell) - $928,400 - Project Name: Manufacture of Digitally Printed Flex-Hybrid Electronics Systems on Large Complex Surfaces
- Northeastern University (Boston) - $500,000 - Project Name: Foster Innovation for Seafood Handling (FISH)
“While other semiconductor laser foundries have moved overseas to reduce production costs and maintain a competitive advantage in the market, this solution has never been an option for Sheaumann Laser, because we take pride in providing our customers with high-quality laser products that are grown, processed, and packaged in the United States,” said Sheaumann Laser President John Gary Sousa. “The M2I2 capital grant helps immensely in supporting Sheaumann’s passion for innovative technology by helping broaden our capabilities in laser growth to include InP wavelengths (1120nm-1875nm) to our current catalog of GaAs wavelengths (780-1080nm). The M2I2 grant will also enable us to increase jobs at our facility by 35-40 percent, helping meet the requirements of the AIM Photonics’ Initiative. In addition, the expansion of new technology and personnel will help Sheaumann nearly double its current product line, allowing us to continue to compete with overseas foundries while maintaining all production activities in Massachusetts.”
“We are thankful for Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito’s focus on economic development across all of Massachusetts,” said Mayor Arthur G. Vigeant. “Since Day 1, they’ve been a partner for Marlborough where we are home to a large cluster of innovative advanced manufacturers. It’s great to see Sheaumann Laser, Inc., a Marlborough company, benefiting from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative.”
According to the Manufacturing in Massachusetts, 10 percent of the Commonwealth’s total economic output is tied to manufacturing and the Commonwealth exported $26 billion in manufactured goods in 2016 alone. Roughly 250,000 employees work in the State’s manufacturing sector, comprising 7.8 percent of the total workforce in the state.
“I want to congratulate Sheaumann Laser Inc. for being awarded this funding, and applaud the Baker-Polito administration for continuing state investments in advanced manufacturing,” said Senator Jamie Eldridge. “As the advanced manufacturing industry continues to grow across communities in the MetroWest region, I think our focus going forward should be to help build partnerships between businesses and local vocational schools to ensure that Massachusetts residents of all ages are prepared for these new manufacturing jobs. We also need to make investments in infrastructure, affordable housing and health care, and transportation to ensure that we have a strong labor force.”
“Advanced manufacturing continues to provide more and more good jobs for Massachusetts residents,” said Representative Carmine L. Gentile. “Today’s grant to Sheaumann Laser will advance the Commonwealth as a national leader in advanced manufacturing. I want to thank the Baker-Polito administration for awarding this grant and congratulate Sheaumann Laser on earning it.”
“It is wonderful to see yet another Marlborough company being recognized and awarded by this Administration,” said Representative Danielle Gregoire. “This grant will allow Sheaumann Laser Inc. to continue their impressive work designing and fabricating lasers and photonic devices.”
This summer, Governor Baker announced $7 million in M2I2 grants during the ribbon cutting event for UMass Lowell’s Fabric Discovery Center, awards which went to programs in each of the four target areas of the M2I2 program. In October, the Lt. Governor also announced a unique partnership with Massachusetts-based software firm PTC to help local small- and medium-sized manufacturers gain access to an industrial innovation software platform that will help boost their operations. In addition to being the national home for the AFFOA headquarters, the Commonwealth’s investments through M2I2 in the flexible-hybrid electronics manufacturing space led to the formation of the NextFlex Massachusetts Node, a move that will help accelerate the development of the manufacturing workforce and promote sustainable advanced manufacturing ecosystems, and enabling the state’s representation on the NextFlex Governing Council.
To learn more about the M2I2 program, including how Massachusetts manufacturers can apply for grants, visit https://m2i2.masstech.org.
- Sheaumann Laser Inc. (Marlborough) - $2,345,000 - AIM-compatible DFB, SOA, and high power integrated laser and amplifier devices spanning 780nm to 1800nm
Project description: Enables Sheaumann Laser to design and fabricate a new set of lasers and photonic devices compatible with the national AIM Photonics packaging platform. These high power devices will establish a unique and superior capability which will displace the current laser sources in existing markets and will enable a wide range of new domestically-produced commercial and military applications. Sheaumann Laser is a 30-person Massachusetts SME specializing in the design and manufacture of semiconductor lasers and modules for industrial, defense, medical, and printing applications. All of their R&D and production activities are housed in one centralized facility in Marlborough.
- SI2 (Billerica), Peerless Precision (Westfield), XENON (Wilmington), UMass Lowell (Lowell) - $928,400 - Manufacture of Digitally Printed Flex-Hybrid Electronics Systems on Large Complex Surfaces
Project description: Enhances the competitiveness of the ecosystem of radome design, test, fabrication, and repair companies in Massachusetts. A radome is a dome protecting radar equipment, such as the nosecone of an aircraft. The proposal is led by SI2 in Billerica, collaborating with Peerless Precision of Westfield), XENON of Wilmington, and UMass Lowell. The project is being done under the national NextFlex manufacturing institute. To date, systems that print flexible hybrid electronics can print only on very small surfaces (1 cubic foot) for enhancing small munitions radomes. This award creates a system capable of printing 100 cubic feet, which can immerse electronics onto radomes for aircraft, ships, submarines, etc. This would establish a unique capability and a leading edge advantage for Massachusetts radome companies, thereby creating or preserving significant numbers of jobs. Both SI2 and UMass Lowell have received M2I2 grants previously, while this is the first for both Peerless Precision and XENON.
- Northeastern University (Boston) - $500,000 - Foster Innovation for Seafood Handling (FISH)
Project description: Northeastern University will develop multi-use collaborative robotics for difficult, inefficient, and understaffed tasks such as inspecting, handling, and grading seafood in small Massachusetts seafood processing plants. Many of these tasks are currently outsourced to Asia and elsewhere for U.S.-caught fish. The collaborative project, which involves multiple seafood processing companies, has the potential to bring this production back to Massachusetts and give Massachusetts the lead in this new technology. The project's deployment will happen in collaboration with fish processing plants in Boston, Fall River, Gloucester, and New Bedford. This project was reviewed and approved by the national ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing) Institute.
Launched by the Baker-Polito Administration in 2016, the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2) aims to help Massachusetts manufacturers adopt innovative new technologies and guides the state’s investment in the Manufacturing USA program. The Administration has committed $100 million-plus in funding to support M2I2 projects across the Commonwealth; the investments are managed by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Through the creation of sector-specific Manufacturing USA Centers, M2I2 will advance innovations and job growth within the state through cross-collaboration among companies, universities, national labs, government, incubators, accelerators, and other academic and training institutions.