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Quiet Corner Innovation Cluster Potential

Loos & Co. Partnership Validates

Quiet Corner Innovation Cluster Potential

The School of Engineering recently completed a pilot project with Loos & Co. through the Quiet Corner Innovation Cluster (QCIC) program. Dr. Steven Suib and Ph.D. candidate Kenneth Petroski led the effort to characterize galvanized wire which is core to their offering. The outcome of the analysis will have a substantial impact on their business including higher quality, new tests to reduce time and cost associated with isolating defects, and entry into new markets.

QCIC is a three-year endeavor to foster growth in small and medium-sized technology and manufacturing companies located in eastern CT. Loos & Co. is the first of fourteen partners who will take part in the program which is jointly funded by UConn, EDA, and CT Innovations. QCIC leverages UConn’s extensive science and technology resources to help companies solve problems or embrace opportunities to grow their business. The outcome of the project with Loos demonstrates the tremendous potential and impact of the program.

For more information, please contact Kathy F. Rocha at kathy.rocha@uconn.edu.

Innovation through Manufacturing Simulation

Innovation through Manufacturing Simulation

Computer modeling and simulations can drastically lower the cost of creating a manufacturing product, usually going through multiple processes, which meets specification requirements. A simulation is typically performed in a fraction of the time and cost it takes to build and test a product. Finite element modeling and simulations are important tools for manufacturers, but the costs for computing resources and software and the lack of modeling expertise have prohibited small- and medium-sized manufacturers from taking advantage of such powerful tools.

That’s where the Connecticut Manufacturing Simulation Center (CMSC) comes in. The CMSC was established in September 2016 through a partnership between UConn, Connecticut Innovations, and the United States Economic Development Administration. Our CMSC team including Hadi Bozorgmanesh, Michael Accorsi, Jeongho Kim, Michael Gangi, Joseph Johanson and Joseph Luciani are excited about the recent partnership with several small and medium-sized companies in Connecticut. Those include Aero Gear Inc., Associated Spring (a business of Barnes Group Inc.), and Stanadyne LLC. By collaborating with an engineering team in each company, we envision to tackle real manufacturing industry problems and provide technical solutions, for example, to minimize residual stresses and distortion or to reduce out-of-specification geometry scrap rate or to optimize materials and design. Our modeling and simulation capability and service to Connecticut manufacturers will promote innovation and economic growth.

The program has already ordered twelve workstations for teaching and training purposes. A finite element course is being taught this semester by Dr. Michael Accorsi to Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) and UConn SoE Senior Design students. The course is available to students who want to be trained in this capability. For more information, please contact Jeongho Kim at jeongho.kim@uconn.edu.

Deep Drawing Simulation using ANSYS

 

Psst — I’ve Got A Secret

Many new small business start-ups are under the misapprehension that their idea, concept, approach – the thing that gets them up in the morning and keeps them motivated to make a change in the world – must be protected by a patent, a trademark, a copyright, or some combination of the above, as a threshold to moving forward.  There is no doubt that exploring these issues early on is a good idea on the road to starting a business.  For example, you would want to know if your improved mousetrap is already being developed by somebody else.  However, there is another alternative that can, in some instances, provide a level of protection to the start-up without the necessity of incurring legal fees.  In May of 2016, President Obama signed into law the Defense of Trade Secrets Act (DTSA).  A trade secret is confidential, commercially valuable information that provides its owner with a competitive advantage.  Prior to enactment of the DTSA, theft of trade secret claims could only be brought in state courts, and results from state to state could be inconsistent and unpredictable.  Now, federal courts may be available to protect these valuable intellectual property assets.

Typically, a small business owner may want to consider using trade secret protection for information that leaves no public “footprint” – for example, a manufacturing process that cannot be reverse engineered.  In such circumstances, maintaining the process as a trade secret may be preferable to patent protection – a patent reveals all aspects of the process to the public and is only available for a limited period of time.  Trade secrets, on the other hand, provide no public information and in theory can extend in perpetuity.

So be sure to consider the best way to protect your secrets.  In our next article we will consider how to protect your trade secrets – there are of course rules about that!

Linda Gebauer

Director, UConn IP Law Clinic