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Advanced Manufacturing Comes to Osceola

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ICAMR and imec open up new opportunity to Central Florida

KISSIMMEE, FL – An exciting new opportunity for economic development in the region was unveiled when the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research (ICAMR) today introduced its newest partner and a plan to bring more than100 new highly skilled, high technology jobs to the area in imec Florida, a new design center focusing on photonic and high-speed electronics integrated circuit (IC) design.

Imec is the world’s leading nanoelectronics research center based in Leuven, Belgium, and opening such a significant entity here brings instant credibility to Osceola County’s efforts to become a world center for smart sensor innovation.

A large and receptive crowd attended the ICAMR/imec Florida announcement today at Osceola Heritage Park.

Speaking at a press conference on the site of the still under construction ICAMR facility, Florida Senator Bill Nelson noted that the project is currently being considered for a $70M National Institute of Standards and Technology grant under the Department of Commerce.

“This is a big deal in the world of materials manufacturing,” Nelson said. “Put all this together and Osceola County will become the smart sensor research capital of the world.”


Sensors, photonics and other like technologies will be at the core of the “Internet of Things” (IOT). IOT embraces new uses of technologies for autonomous vehicles, home automation, enhanced security, and advanced manufacturing.

“We are extremely pleased to collaborate with partner organizations in Florida and see Osceola as an interesting location to drive the next phase of imec’s growth and innovation,” said imec president and CEO Luc Van den hove. “Together with industrial and academic partners, we want to develop sustainable solutions and technology to accelerate innovation and stimulate economic growth within Osceola County and the State of Florida.”

The design center will facilitate collaboration between imec’s headquarters, in Leuven and their over 600 customers/partners in the US and abroad including semiconductor and system companies, universities, and research institutes.

Partnering with ICAMR, the Design Center will add a much-needed suite of services for companies that want to develop and manufacture innovative electronics, but cannot currently do so in the United States. It will focus on products and systems critical to U.S. markets, including healthcare, aerospace, security, and transportation.

WHAT IS ICAMR?

ICAMR is a public/private partnership that is leading an effort to become a national and international hub of research and development in sensor technology and advanced manufacturing by attracting high technology industry, academic and government partners with Internet-of-everything manufacturing endeavors.

“The Department of Energy recognized we needed to bring manufacturing back to the U.S.” Holladay said. “We can’t just be innovators.”

So the goal is to establish an engine of economic development based in technologies of the future that will grow the number of mature, high-paying technology manufacturing jobs in the area by attracting businesses in these industries and as a result, create wealth that feeds growth for all businesses throughout central Florida and across the state.

The iemc design center is the latest ICAMR member and, according to ICAMR CEO Chester Kennedy, the relationship is in a position to bring many other high-value manufacturing opportunities to the region,

“This partnership is poised to shine the global high-tech spotlight on Central Florida,” said Kennedy. “We will work closely with them to make sure our capabilities tightly align with their technology direction.”

WHAT MAKES IT GOOD FOR FLORIDA?

Initial seed money for imec Florida will come from Osceola County and the University of Central Florida. The new center will attract top talent through future strategic partnerships, with the aim to employ about 10 scientists and engineers by the end of the year and increase to over 100 researchers in the next five years. Officials say that they are leveraging their investment – and imec’s reputation – to draw more substantial industry funding and recruit more partners and funding for the new Design Center and the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center.

“Imec’s international prestige gives us the opportunity to leverage its standing in a field that is growing exponentially,” said Osceola County Commission Chairwoman Viviana Janer. “It’s important to realize that the new Design Center is going to capture the attention of everyone in this field.”

The state-of-the-art research on photonics and high-speed electronics IC design is a scientific discipline where life-changing discoveries are fueling the explosive growth of products used every day, everywhere, and by everybody.

WHY HERE?

Imec chose Kissimmee and Osceola County for several very specific reasons. The Florida university system offers a population with experience and a particular set of relevant skills. The University of Central Florida, in particular, has specific expertise in photonics and optics. The area also has a highly productive talent base in aerospace and defense.

Strong relationships between ICAMR leaders and IMEC initially drew the nanotechnology giant’s attention here. And the local will both politically and publicly was there to make it happen. In fact, the vision for the area is to have something like 30 to 50 high-tech companies relocate to the area in the next 7-10 years to grow into a powerful and influential district like Medical City in Lake Nona.

The announcement was made just days before a major technology trade show on the West Coast. Imec Florida will be formally introduced to the industry at ITF USA a prestigious imec-event held suring the SEMICON West conference in SanFrancisco on Monday, July 11.

“By attracting the best partners from around the world, the new Design Center will give our region and the state a global competitive advantage in photonics and nanotechnology,” said UCF Provost and Executive Vice President Dale Whittaker. “By working and innovating together, we will lift our community and transform our future.”