Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Manufacturing, Innovation, and Energy

Today's Tribune-Review has a story that illustrates the opportunities the Pittsburgh Region has for creating new jobs in "old" industries through innovation, for continuing to be a leading center for the materials industry, and for taking leadership in creating new energy-saving technologies to boot.

Apogee Technology, Inc., headquartered in Verona, has developed an Isothermal Melting Process that promises to revolutionize the way that aluminum is made, saving 70% of the energy used in conventional processes. It won an R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine in October. The company has been helped by technical support from the University of Pittsburgh and Drexel University in Philadelphia, from technical support from federal research laboratories, and from federal grants to help develop the technologies. The company's president used to work for Alcoa.

The aluminimum industry was born here in Pittsburgh, and it may be reborn again, right here in Pittsburgh, thanks to government investments in R&D, partnerships between universities and manufacturing firms, and entrepreneurship by former employees of our existing manufacturing firms.


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