Several manufacturing companies in Stark and Summit Counties jumped on the opportunity to consult with some of the best minds in the world.

Several manufacturing companies in Stark and Summit Counties jumped on the opportunity to consult with some of the best minds in the world.

The NASA Roadshow team of scientists and engineers from NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland has been traveling around Ohio and the Midwest helping manufacturers solve issues or problems with processes or products.

The NASA Roadshow visited the campus at Stark State College to offer expertise to seven local manufacturers. Four of the companies worked with NASA while they were at Stark State and three other companies will be receiving assistance either at the NASA Center or via alternate means.

“NASA has an effort called regional economic development where the idea is to take NASA capabilities which includes people, facilities and technologies and collaborate with companies that could benefit from utilizing our capabilities,” said Joe Shaw, director of ventures and partnerships at NASA Glenn. “We find opportunities to work with local manufacturers that have challenges that could be met through working with us through public and private partnerships. It's about helping industry solve their problems.”

One example Shaw discussed is the work NASA did with Pile Dynamics in Cleveland. The company measures the structural rigidity and the safety of pilings put into the earth for bridges and building construction.

“The solutions allowed them to readily manufacture the system and to incorporate the system into a wider variety of bridges and buildings than they could before,” Shaw said. “It created new business opportunities and allowed them to mass produce the sensors which created new business which created more jobs in Ohio.”

Getting the NASA Roadshow to Canton involved several groups working together. NASA, Magnet (a Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network), the Greater Akron and Canton Chambers of Commerce, Stark Economic Development and Stark State College joined forces to help bring area manufacturers together for the event.

Some local companies may struggle with technical issues which may stall finding ways to implement better production or better products,” said Daryl Revoldt, executive director of workforce and economic development at Stark State. “This is an exceptional opportunity to link those companies with NASA scientists who are some of the smartest and best scientists in the world.”

The four companies invited to participate in the Roadshow included Columbus McKinnon from Salem, Enviro-Engine from Magnolia, EP Technologies from Akron and GOJO Industries from Akron. The additional three companies selected include Fire-Dex from Medina, Akro Plastics from Kent and Emergency Products and Research from Kent.

“This is our first time working with companies in the Akron and Canton area,” said Laurie Stauber, regional economic development specialist with NASA Glenn. “The companies are receiving the consulting at no charge. We work with Magnet who puts out the notices and provides the mechanisms for companies to apply. Each company has to submit a technical problem statement during the application process. Then we work with Magnet to select the companies to work with.”

If the company and the technical problem look like a good fit, they receive an invitation to participate in the Roadshow.

“Our goal is to help companies solve difficult issues by doing what NASA does best, tackling tough technical problems with unique solutions by bringing the companies together with our subject matter experts,” Stauber said.