Missouri S&T research symposium highlights state's manufacturing capabilities

From left- Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, Rep. Don Mayhew and Sen. Roy Blunt examine a laser-printed sample from S&T student Michelle Gegel's machine.

Missouri S&T’s College of Engineering and Computing hosted the “Integrative Manufacturing and Remanufacturing Technologies to Spur Rural Development” and featured speakers such as Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt. The symposium featured in-person speakers and panelists addressing participants who tuned in virtually via Zoom.

“Today’s symposium is focused on the very bright future of manufacturing and re-manufacturing in our state – and Missouri S&T has an important role to play in this arena,” said Missouri S&T Chancellor Mo Dehghani during opening remarks at the event. “The university stands ready and able to work with our federal and state government partners, as well as our partners in education and industry, to further develop Missouri’s workforce and economy.”

Following Dehghani’s opening remarks, Parson discussed the need to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, continue the push for rural broadband access, and ensure the state meets education and training needs. 

“We’ve got to beat the challenges like S&T does every day,” said Parson. “But if they (industries) don’t have the foundation of the education communities of our state, we’re kidding ourselves if we’re going to be a leader. We will not be a leader if we don’t support K-12, our training centers, community colleges and our universities.”

Blunt also spoke about the desire to bring back manufacturing capabilities to the U.S. and Missouri to boost the state’s workforce. 

“In that advanced manufacturing concept, you take at least two different businesses with a university or college partner and you get some benefits,” said Blunt. “But the chancellor’s understanding already of the institution is so important. When you’ve got this kind of expertise, this research, this partnership, why wouldn’t this be a hub for rural manufacturing? Once you check those first three boxes, you get to that workforce box and we win when we check that box.”

Dr. Steven Jung, chief technology officer at Mo-Sci Corp. and an adjunct professor of materials science and engineering at S&T, spoke about Mo-Sci’s state-of-the-art technologies using bioactive glass. Dr. Frank Liou, director of the manufacturing engineering program and the Michael and Joyce Bytnar Professor of mechanical engineering at S&T, led a presentation titled “Integrative Manufacturing and Remanufacturing Technologies to Spur Rural Development.” In addition, two separate panel discussions were held on strategies for a thriving industrial ecosystem and the evolving workforce development needs for the manufacturing industry.  

Following their remarks, Parson and Blunt toured Missouri S&T’s new Center for Aerospace Manufacturing Technologies location. The center specializes in fabrication and assembly technologies for aerospace and other manufacturing industries. Some of the center’s main research areas include additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping and manufacturing, laser-based materials processing, composites fabrication and evaluation, machining and machine tools, metrology, assembly modeling and simulation and manufacturing ergonomics.