The University of Louisville has hired a new industry liaison to connect manufacturers to campus resources for research, prototyping and development.
Scott Broughton, UofL’s new director of manufacturing engagement in the Office of Research and Innovation, will work closely with UofL researchers and groups focused on 3D-printing, energy, robotics and other cutting-edge areas that could help manufacturers innovate and grow.
Broughton comes to UofL from the Advantage Kentucky Alliance (AKA), where he previously was director of the state’s manufacturing extension partnership. UofL News recently had the chance to talk to Broughton about what’s new and next in manufacturing, and why he’s excited to connect industry with UofL.
UofL News: This is a new role – what excites you about connecting manufacturers with UofL?
Broughton: What excites me most is being the conduit itself. What I mean by that is UofL has vast resources, technologies, capabilities, training in operational improvement, etc. that manufacturers simply do not know are available to them. For example, our Additive Manufacturing Institute of Science and Technology (AMIST) and the Louisville Automation and Robotics Research Institute (LARRI).
I am excited about connecting manufacturers’ needs to UofL solutions. Manufacturers have a need for embedding new technologies into their processes and bringing in new employees. I am excited to show them how UofL is the perfect fit to be able to do both; the use of new technologies without the investment costs of buying the equipment as well as talented, well-trained UofL graduates looking to start their careers.
UofL News: Can you give a few examples of ways UofL’s helped manufacturers in the past?
Broughton: Too many to count! One is how we allow manufacturers, startups and others to leverage our research capability as a one-stop shop for product development — from concept drawing through fully manufactured part through hiring your next great innovation engineer.
Another one I’m really excited about is our Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU)-backed program, Accelerated Innovative Manufacturing with 3D Printing, or AIM-3DP. That program provides small and medium manufacturers in the automotive and aerospace sectors with training, mentorship, consulting, research and development. Some of the manufacturers we’re working with would not have been able to do this work in the past without access to UofL expertise and resources in the latest technologies, like 3D printing and additive manufacturing.
UofL News: You mentioned new technologies – how are these changing the landscape for manufacturers?
Broughton: New technologies are, of course, changing the way manufacturing is done; additive manufacturing/3D-printing can make prototyping and parts manufacturing less expensive and quicker, for example, and robotics and artificial intelligence can make things more efficient and safer. But currently, the No. 1 issue is workforce. The latest change-drivers in manufacturing are focused on trying to resolve that dilemma – both in terms of optimizing workflows by integrating these technologies and hiring employees trained to use these advanced technologies.
UofL News: How can using these technologies help industry?
Broughton: In several ways. One is that these smart technologies, like artificial intelligence, can help prevent mistakes. In today’s competitive market, we can not afford quality issues and stay competitive. Another, is that these technologies offer new ways to manufacture. Additive manufacturing and 3D-printing, for example, enable us to create parts not possible to produce any other way, nonetheless as quickly. The benefits of using these technologies are near limitless, from improving safety, to preventing errors, to reducing costs, to a thousand other things. These cutting-edge technologies can help manufacturers to innovate, optimize, build and grow.
You can contact Scott Broughton at firstname.lastname@example.org.