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MVCC, Indium salute ‘multi-dimensional’ partnership

Mike Jaquays
Staff writer
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Posted 9/16/22

Leaders from Mohawk Valley Community College and Indium Corporation celebrated their successful partnership Thursday in the college’s FABLab, a state-of-the-art fabrication facility.

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MVCC, Indium salute ‘multi-dimensional’ partnership

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UTICA — Leaders from Mohawk Valley Community College and Indium Corporation celebrated their successful partnership Thursday in the college’s FABLab, a state-of-the-art fabrication facility that has supported Indium in the development of innovative three-dimensional metal printing technologies.

“At Indium, we believe material science changes the world — I absolutely believe it,” said company President and Chief Operating Officer Ross Berntson. “And without this FABLab – without the great resources of MVCC — it would not have been possible to bring the new technology to the market that is our 3D EZ Release base plate for 3D metal aggregate printing.”

Indium Corporation has its global headquarters nearby in Clinton and is a leading materials supplier to the microelectronics and semiconductor markets around the world.

MVCC President Randall J. VanWagoner said their “multi-dimensional” partnership often pushes MVCC in its own educational thinking as Indium takes full advantage of all programs the college offers local employers.

After mentioning that patent-pending 3D EZ Release plate, Berntson held one up to the audience, showing how the flat metal device is designed as an easily removable support base for three-dimensional metal device printing.

The MVCC lab facility features high-tech, industrial-grade fabrication equipment and tools plus the space for inventing, designing and creating prototypes of new creations.

“The FABLab is just one example of MVCC’s commitment to providing our students with the skills that they need to succeed in today’s economy,” VanWagoner said. “It’s a state-of-the-art maker space that allows students to work on equipment and software and gain real world experience in advanced manufacturing.”

It also gives students the chance to experience partnerships with area businesses and manufacturers like Indium, VanWagoner added.

David Smith, MVCC’s technical assistant for engineering technology and trades, said the facility opened in 2015 to not only students and faculty but local businesses and individuals as well.

Smith, nicknamed by VanWagoner as “The Wizard of Possibilities,” along with James Kelly, who VanWagoner called “The Magician of Making Things,” keep the FABLab running right up to date with the latest technological advancements.

“Things change very rapidly in 3D printing,” Smith noted.

The FABLab is also home to MVCC’s social enterprise Tea Leaf Manufacturing LLC, which serves local industry, nonprofits, entrepreneurs and institutions even while providing cutting-edge learning opportunities for MVCC students. Tea Leaf Manufacturing’s profits then benefit the MVCC Foundation for student scholarships and other resources, VanWagoner explained.

And the ties between MVCC and Indium Corporation go beyond expanding today’s technologies — Berntson said three officers of the company, Chief Executive Officer Greg Evans, Corporate Associate Vice President Rick Short and Technology Assessment Manager David Socha are all MVCC graduates and many children of Indium Corporation employees are currently there.

“We value the talent that comes out of this great institution, the experiential talent that is possible here in the FABLab and then the ability to invent brand-new technology,” Berntson said.

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