Manufacturing Innovation and Economic Growth at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

NIST Chief Manufacturing Officer Michael Molnar To Deliver Keynote Address at Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS) 2012 Technology Showcase and Conference

April 16, 2012


Michael Molnar, chief manufacturing officer of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and director of the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO), will deliver the keynote address at the Rensselaer Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS) 2012 Technology Showcase and Conference.

The event, titled “Partnership for Manufacturing Competitiveness,” will take place April 23-24 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy, N.Y. The showcase will highlight the many successes of CATS and its partner companies and state agencies. To register or see the full schedule, visit:

Since 1988, CATS has worked with partner companies to leverage the knowledge and expertise of Rensselaer faculty and students toward solving real-world advanced manufacturing challenges. CATS is a New York state designated Center for Advanced Technology and receives annual funding of nearly $1 million from the Empire State Development (ESD) Division for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). Over the past five years, CATS has leveraged this investment to help its industrial partners deliver upward of $259 million in non-job economic impact, create 293 new jobs, and retain 449 jobs in New York. More than 80 percent of CATS industrial partners are small or start-up companies.

“At Rensselaer, we are resolutely focused on helping to revitalize the U.S. manufacturing economy, which is a critical facet of the national innovation ecosystem. Through the work of CATS and others on campus, we have an important direct impact on the economic growth of the Capital Region, New York, and our country,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “In addition, these efforts empower and inspire our students to develop new technologies and launch businesses that seed and generate further job creation. Rensselaer is deeply committed to continuing its leadership role in achieving these goals.”

“Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York state continues to leverage its unique assets, such as its premier research and development institutions, to achieve its economic development goals and remain competitive,” said ESD President, CEO, and Commissioner Kenneth Adams. “ESD is proud to support the Center for Advanced Technology program, which builds on the bright minds and talents of our students to realize the innovative products of our future. As a result, the program has helped create and retain hundreds of jobs and bolster economic growth in the Capital Region and across the state.”

CATS is focused on the future of all aspects of manufacturing, from both a theoretical and practical perspective. Of particular emphasis is the manufacturing of energy-related systems, including fuel cell, battery, and other areas of green manufacturing such as energy-saving advanced composite parts and structures. Through partnership with leading fuel cell companies, the center is innovating new methods for manufacturing fuel cell membranes, automating membrane electrode assemblies, and advancing the robotic assembly of fuel cell stacks.

In addition to manufacturing, the center applies an integrated systems approach to a wide array of applications, including thermal management, active flow control, adaptive optics, high-precision motion control, micro- and nanoscale engineering, and biomedical applications such as biomechanics, bioimaging, and high-throughput assay for drug discovery.

“We take a holistic approach to problem solving, integrating modeling, simulation, and prototyping, which augments the domain expertise of our industrial partners and helps them be more competitive on the global stage,” said John T. Wen, CATS director and a professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer. “Industrial collaboration is also essential to our research and education programs, as it provides real-world, market-driven motivation, inspiration, and pathways to commercialization.”

CATS’ interdisciplinary team of researchers includes nearly 50 Rensselaer faculty members from nine different academic departments in the School of Engineering, School of Science, and School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. More than 40 Rensselaer students participate in CATS research, and the center employs seven full-time research technical staff and two postdoctoral researchers.

On April 25, the day after the CATS showcase, the AMNPO will hold the first of a planned series of regional workshops to design a proposed $1 billion federal initiative, the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). This workshop will be held on the Rensselaer campus in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center. For more information on the workshop, visit: and

For more information on the CATS at Rensselaer, visit:

Press Contact Michael Mullaney
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