ARMI On the Move


The Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), https://www.dodmantech.com/Institutes/ATB-MII,held its grand opening at its headquarters in Manchester, NH last month. This nonprofit organization will sustain a Manufacturing USA Institute, the Advanced Tissue Biofabrication Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ATB-MII). As a public-private supported institute, ATB-MII will use its Department of Defense (DoD) resources to support state-of-the-art manufacturing capability that strengthens DoD defense essential mission.      

ATB-MII will bring together a proactive collation of research institutions, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, federal, and state agencies to accelerate innovation relative to the Tissue Biofabrication Ecosystem to develop technologies, protocols, and procedures that result in biofabrication full scale manufacturing operations. This effort will provide support to help bridge the gap between basic/early research and product development by advancing and scaling critical technologies in the manufacturing readiness level (MRL) between the 4 to 7 range. As indicated by Dean K. Kamen, founder of ARMI: ARMI will make practical the large-scale manufacturing of engineered tissues and tissue related technologies, to benefit existing industries and grow new ones; and ATB MII's website states: The ATB-MII will provide shared assets to help entities – particularly small manufacturers – access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment, creating an unparalleled environment to educate and train students and workers in Advanced Tissue Biofabrication skills.

The cell phone photo shown above and snapped during Dean Kamen's presentation at ARMI's inaugural, http://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/devices/dean-kamen-announces-organbuilding-institute, event captures ATB-MII's overall intent.  The presentation side's title ("ARMI Has Solid Backing to Turn a Fragmented Field Into a Robust Industry") focused the audience of ATB-MII partners to a large extent on the impressive group of research universities that will tackle the bioscience, bioengineering, and manufacturing issues involved in completing ATB MII's goals. However, the triad of logos as arranged in the slide's lower right corner also highlights ATB-MII’s intent: "to create an unparalleled environment to educate and train students and workers in Advanced Tissue Biofabrication skills."

As long-time FLATE supporters and FLATE Focus readers, we hope that you noticed our logo on Dean Kamen's slide as soon as you saw the photo of his partner display slide!! However, for Florida's role in developing technicians and skilled operators to support bio-related manufacturing in our state, it is the MEP, FloridaMakes, FLATE cluster that is important. What curriculum content and/or course of study should be installed in the Florida College System A.S. degree programs to produce the new technicians with the knowledge and skillset Florida manufacturers will need?  What training programs and content should be created that can be delivered directly to the current technician and operator workforce that supports this Florida manufacturing sector?  How will what Florida learns about developing this ATB-MII supportive workforce be interconnected with bio-manufacturer's across the country? 

These are three important questions with answers yet to come but NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership, FloridaMakes, and FLATE are federal and state agencies in Florida that will ultimately provide the answer to those questions. As a first step, FLATE and FloridaMakes are developing a joint operational strategy which will produce an effective mechanism to efficiently meet the high-tech manufacturing workforce Florida needs from both the new student and current workforce talent pool.  "Stay tuned" to future FLATE Focus issues for exciting developments and details.