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Additional DOD funds expands Purdue-led microelectronics workforce program – Today's Medical Developments

Nearly $11 million in funding delivers a 5-year extension of the SCALE workforce initiative that aims to restore global lead through education initiatives.
The SCALE (Scalable Asymmetric Lifecycle Engagement) microelectronics workforce development program at Purdue University will extend five years and expand with additional Department of Defense funding of $10.8 million, and a ceiling of $99 million. 
SCALE officials said this expansion of the nation’s preeminent program will further its goal to develop a next-generation workforce that can return the United States to prominence in global microelectronics manufacturing.
Led by Purdue, funded by the Department of Defense and managed by NSWC Crane, SCALE facilitates a different approach to training highly skilled U.S. microelectronics engineers, hardware designers and manufacturing experts. SCALE brings together a public-private-academic partnership of 17 universities and 34 partners within the defense industry and government. The industry and government partners regularly meet and update a list of knowledge, skills, and abilities important for new entrants to the workforce. The SCALE universities then update their curriculum to ensure the students are prepared for upcoming needs in the rapidly advancing microelectronics field. Read more on Purdue’s leadership and student focus in microelectronics.
Jennifer Linvill, co-principal investigator of SCALE research and assistant professor of technology leadership and innovation at Purdue Polytechnic Institute, said the newly announced funding will allow recruiting a new, diverse group of students to work in defense microelectronics as interns and after graduating.
Goals for the next five years include:
Peter Bermel, SCALE director and the Elmore Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue, says the United States will need 50,000 trained semiconductor engineers to meet overwhelming and rapidly growing demand.
“The United States is committed to expanding and strengthening its semiconductor industry and workforce rapidly over the next five years,” Bermel says. “SCALE takes a holistic approach to the microelectronics workforce gap by comprehensively addressing system challenges for workforce training and recruiting.”
The funding announcement is the latest highlight in Purdue’s ongoing leadership in microelectronics and workforce development. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo visited the university on Sept. 13 to tour Birck Nanotechnology Center, one of the Purdue facilities helping the United States restore domestic semiconductor manufacturing and competitiveness abroad.
“Purdue’s cutting-edge research and workforce development programs are at the forefront of helping us shape the future of innovation in America’s semiconductor manufacturing industry,” Raimondo said during the tour.
Purdue already has established excellence in other key research areas considered critical to national security, including microelectronics. Strategic initiatives such as the first comprehensive Semiconductor Degrees Program are intended to prepare a next-generation workforce for industry, while a separate partnership with SkyWater Technology will result in a $1.8 billion future state-of-the-art semiconductor manufacturing facility.
The SCALE program aligns with economic development work that Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has advanced in recent months, focusing on putting Indiana at the forefront of microelectronics production to bolster the state’s economy and further ensure U.S. national security. 
Purdue is a national leader in microelectronics device and packaging research, spanning the semiconductor ecosystem in software and hardware. The funding announcement is the latest piece of Purdue’s continually expanding research and development in the field of microelectronics and semiconductors.
Specifically designed microelectronic chips and packages power the technologies used every day from cellphones, computers and cars to pacemakers, the internet, and the electrical grid. Their power and affordability have advanced steadily but are reaching the physical limits of standard design and production, which is driving new directions encompassed by SCALE, such as heterogeneous integration. SCALE aims to develop students to be ready to fill every level of the expanding microelectronics workforce.
The demand for microelectronics increased by 26.2% in 2021. But while the United States consumes about half of the chips produced worldwide, only about 12% are manufactured in this country. 
The United States developed microchip technology in the 1950s, and its manufacturing output was 37% of the total global output in 1990. However, as manufacturing moved to East Asia — countries including China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan – the U.S. global output of semiconductor manufacturing fell to 12% in 2021.
Star Cutter expands Star SU representation in Europe with acquisition of Samputensili Cutting Tools.
Star Cutter Co. has acquired a majority share of Samputensili Cutting Tools, based in Bentivoglio, Italy, which has now been incorporated into the Star SU brand, serving the European market as Star SU Europe S.r.l.
“As a recognized global leader in the gear manufacturing industry, we are happy to officially extend our presence into the European market,” says Jeff Lawton, Star Cutter Company President/COO. “We know this integration of resources will further our technical skills, enhance our product quality, expand our manufacturing capacity and improve our service offerings.”
Founded in 2001, Star SU LLC is a global sales company with a presence in North America, South America, China, South Korea, India, and Europe. It’s a single technology source for gear manufacturers, offering a wide variety of machinery, precision cutting tools, and services including vertical gear hobbing machines and chamfering and deburring machines; gear hobs and milling cutters; gear shaper cutters and shaving tools; chamfer and deburring tools.
As part of the former Samputensili company, Dr. Eng. Deniz Sari will maintain his executive leadership role at the Star SU Europe operations, where he has been responsible for 80 people at the manufacturing plant in Italy and for two sales subsidiaries in France and Germany. Additionally, Dr. Sari will continue to be responsible for advancing gear tool technology with the global organization. Dr. Sari brings extensive experience of the gear industry to this role with a diploma degree and a doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering from the RWTH Aachen University, where he also worked as a Group Leader of the Gear Manufacturing Team at the WZL prior to joining Samputensili.
Valor Manufacturing Training helped Swiss-Tech LLC standardize training to train new employees effectively and efficiently.
Founded in 1965 in Delvan, Wisconsin, Swiss-Tech LLC’s 105 employees manufacture the highest quality Swiss precision machined parts for critical applications in the aerospace, medical, defense, and other high-end industrial sectors. Swiss-Tech is ISO 9001, AS9100, ISO 13485, and ITAR certified in CNC-CAM, CNC milling/turning, finish/deburring/polishing and prototype cell methods.
Swiss-Tech faced inconsistent training from trainer to trainer that was leaving new employees overwhelmed and confused. New hire development and time-to-productivity would take up to two months. This lack of standardized training content and method was causing decreased production volume, increasing machine downtime, increased material waste and decreased employee retention causing both a financial and operational impact to the organization.
The company wanted to decrease employee time-to-productivity by implementing a consistently structured training process to train new employees effectively and efficiently. They also wanted to increase production output while decreasing material waste and downtime. 
Steps to success
The company turned to Valor Manufacturing Training and upon assessing and auditing Swiss Tech’s talent development program and processes, Valor supplied a library of online skills training modules as well as implementation and operations support. Pre-existing, shop-specific training modules and materials were merged with the Valor content and launched from a singular platform with metrics tracking and record retention.
“We created a core competency assessment to outline the skills needed to efficiently perform responsibilities and realized very quickly that we needed proper training and implementation,” says Rachel Repinski, CNC machinist programmer supervisor. “The process didn’t take a lot of effort to make it work and Valor made it smooth and easy. They also continue to follow up and help us constantly improve and build onto our program.”
The new onboarding process now takes one week to complete through the Valor content and platform. Upon completion, the hands-on machine training takes one to two weeks (depending on the individual). Swiss-Tech is now able to hire someone with no prior machining knowledge and have them effectively operating machines in less than one month (including tool changes, offsets, and inspection). This reduction in classroom onboarding and orientation has also resulted in a 38% cost savings as related to employee onboarding and orientation training expense.

LEE Ventus will become the eleventh production group for The Lee Company and the fourth member of the Electro Fluidic Systems (EFS) division.
The Lee Company Inc. has acquired TTP Ventus Ltd. from TTP Group. Based near Cambridge, UK, TTP Ventus is an inventor and manufacturer of silent, compact micropumps and pump modules with unrivaled features, enabling cutting-edge innovation across the medical, life science, environmental, and industrial sectors. These products complement The Lee Company’s existing broad range of miniature fluid control components widely utilized across the same industries.
“TTP Ventus brings exciting new technology to The Lee Company, enhancing our offering in the strategically important life science and medical markets,” says Bill Lee, president and CEO. “The fit with our existing product lines is strong, and we expect our global force of sales engineers to accelerate Ventus’ growth. The Lee Company’s unique capabilities in miniaturization and engineering keep our company at the forefront of fluid flow technology and the addition of Ventus is the latest advancement of our technologies. The renamed LEE Ventus will become the eleventh production group for The Lee Company and the fourth member of the Electro Fluidic Systems (EFS) division. Our customers will now have even greater performance range and precision control of pressure and flow conditions in both liquid and pneumatic applications.”
James McCrone, head of business operations, TTP Group, comments, “We’re delighted with this successful outcome for TTP Ventus as it enters an exciting new phase in its growth. Under TTP Group’s incubation, the team have transformed an innovative technology into an exciting new product and a successful business. The Lee Company’s established leadership in precision fluidic control and their global sales reach makes them the ideal acquisition partner.”
LEE Ventus will continue operations in the UK, becoming The Lee Company’s first international production unit.

Advanced polymer solutions for healthcare and medical applications will be shown by Trelleborg Healthcare & Medical at MD&M Minneapolis, Booth #3718.
On display will be Trelleborg’s newly acquired, advanced capabilities in thermoplastic injection molding. The company will also highlight its drug-eluting capabilities, rapid development center, tubing and hose, and molded parts, as well as its multicomponent and micromolding offerings.
Andrew Gaillard, global commercial director of healthcare & medical, says: “At the show we will introduce some enhanced capabilities available thanks to our newest acquisition, EirMed. Now part of the Trelleborg family, this acquisition enables us to partner with customers on projects involving thermoplastic injection molding, assembly, and packaging. Attendees can also learn about our new offerings for bioresorbable polymers.
“Bioresorbables are materials used for implantable medical devices and once treatment is complete, they are absorbed by the body and therefore do not need to be removed. This technology shortens patient’s recovery time and hospital stays and is less invasive.”
Additionally, attendees can find out the latest news and updates about Trelleborg’s Rapid Development Center. The center is the company’s latest capability to help healthcare and medical customers expedite their new product development process, minimize production costs, quicken development time, and ensure superior-quality products.
Chris Tellers, director of the Rapid Development Center, says: “We partner with some of the world’s largest medical device companies to develop solutions across a range of categories, including cardiovascular, diabetes, and neurology. Since launching the Rapid Development Center in August of 2021, we have shipped over 20,000 parts, completed 60 tools and over 103 unique parts. We have also completed thermoplastic tooling projects and offered machined parts when appropriate. We can turn around projects in a matter of days for when speed really counts.”
Another highlight will be Trelleborg Healthcare & Medical’s extensive selection of its specialty extruded tubing and hose products. Tubing is available in a full range of sizes and is custom designed with customers to meet their individual application needs.
Gaillard, continues: “We engineer novel extrusion solutions for our customers’ specific tube and hosing applications. Examples include multi-lumen, silicone foam extrusions, and kink-resistant tubing for a variety of critical applications, such as pacemaker and neuromodulation leads and urological implants. Additionally, Trelleborg’s GeoTrans technology enables the production of extrusion profiles that can change throughout the length of the extrusion, supporting unique, customer-specific designs. The expansion of our facility in Northborough, Massachusetts will increase our manufacturing capacities for silicone extrusion and molding and offer enhanced flexible manufacturing solutions.”
Also on display will be molded parts used in implantable healthcare and medical devices alongside multicomponent and micromolding capabilities.
“One of our most well-accepted capabilities is the combination of Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) with plastics. Commonly referred to as 2C or 2-shot, multicomponent injection molding enables our LSR experts to employ highly sophisticated tool and process engineering to develop innovative solutions that combine two or more individual materials into one fully bonded, robust component,” Gaillard concludes.


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