The Baker-Polito Administration announced $2.8 million in new infrastructure grants through the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative or M2I2 to three growing manufacturers. The three grants were announced by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy during an event at 99Degrees Custom in Lawrence, Mass., a 375-employee manufacturer of tech-integrated apparel, which received nearly $1.1 million in new state support. Grants were also awarded to Soliyarn, a maker of smart textiles based in Belmont, and to Human Systems Integration (H.S.I.), a wearable technology company headquartered in Walpole.
“These three grantees are developing technical apparel used in medical and military applications, ‘smart’ products that provide enhanced protection from the elements but also provide enhanced functionality,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through this support, they have the opportunity to enhance their ability to compete in markets across the U.S. and the globe.”
The M2I2 program, co-managed by the Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM) at the MassTech Collaborative and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, aims to foster and grow sectors such as this to spur innovation and job growth within the state through cross-collaboration among companies, universities, national labs, government, incubators, accelerators, and other academic and training institutions. To date, the program has invested over $80 million in direct grants to growing companies, universities, and research labs across the state.
The three awarded projects, totaling $2,838,375, include:
- 99Degrees Custom, Lawrence, Mass., $1,088,375 for the project, “Integrated Apparel Innovation Center:” 99Degrees incubates, designs for manufacture, and produces technical performance activewear and wearable technology-integrated apparel for medical device, technology, and apparel retail companies. The Integrated Apparel Innovation Center at their facility will include a rapid prototyping center for apparel and technology-integrated apparel products, as well as an equipment R&D lab to design, develop and build the tooling and machinery needed to incubate and scale the production of advanced concept apparel and wearable technologies. This industry-led innovation center will ensure that the ideas coming out of the Commonwealth’s labs, academic institutions, research centers, and technologies companies are able to be designed for manufacture, piloted, and produced at-scale in Massachusetts.
- Soliyarn, Belmont, Mass., $1,500,000 for an expansion project to build a manufacturing facility with scalable CVD Roll-to-Roll System for Conductive & PFC free DWR textiles. This project will complete a manufacturing facility with a scalable chemical vapor deposition (CVD) roll-to-roll system for conductive and durable water repellent (DWR) textiles that are free of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). The objective is to expand the manufacturing capabilities and commercialize the technology by designing and building a roll-to-roll system of CVD chambers that will allow Soliyarn to produce bolts of conductive and DWR fabric. This higher throughput roll-to-roll machine, and other ancillary supporting elements, are required to meet identified military needs and the exploding market demand for these types of fabrics.
- Human Systems Integration (H.S.I.), Walpole, Mass., $250,000 for the project Critical Manufacturing, Assembly, and Integration of Garment-Embedded, Textile Electronics Elements. The objective of this project is to develop a new garment-embedded, wearable electronics platform that will be configurable during manufacturing to any desired product application. This program represents an opportunity for HSI, plus their current and emerging industry partners in Massachusetts, to establish a garment-embedded electronics supply chain for multiple products, applications, and markets. This initial Heated Apparel product offers a stepping stone to the development and deployment of an exciting garment-embedded electronics product category. This is the second M2I2 grant to H.S.I., following a nearly $1.5 million award announced in October 2019.
The Baker-Polito Administration has committed more than $100 million in funding to the M2I2 effort, which allows the Commonwealth to co-invest in projects supported by the national Manufacturing USA initiative, helping promote innovation and job growth across the state. The three grantees have also received support from the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) national manufacturing institute based in Cambridge.
In addition to the $80 million directly invested in Massachusetts organizations, M2I2 has leveraged over $250 million in funding from outside sources, helping to enable the development of over 100 new products. In addition to infrastructure investments, the program has also created workforce training opportunities for thousands of students and workers statewide.
Manufacturers with facilities in Massachusetts can learn more about funding opportunities through the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and the M2I2 program at https://cam.masstech.org.