Massachusetts’ Baker-Polito Administration has announced $2.8 million in new infrastructure grants, through the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2), to three growing manufacturers. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy made the announcement during an event at 99Degrees Custom in Lawrence, a 375-employee manufacturer of tech-integrated apparel, which received one of the grants. Additional recipients were Soliyarn, a maker of smart textiles based in Belmont, and to Human Systems Integration (H.S.I.), a wearable technology company headquartered in Walpole.
The three awards highlight the Commonwealth’s strength in innovative textiles, an advanced manufacturing sector targeted by the M2I2 program. “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.”
“Since its launch in 2016, M2I2 has impacted over 150 companies across the state and created hundreds of jobs at manufacturers like these,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.
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.
99Degrees Custom, Lawrence, Mass., was awarded $1,088,375 for the project, “Integrated Apparel Innovation Center.” The company 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 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.
Soliyarn, Belmont, Mass., received $1,500,000 for an expansion project to build a manufacturing facility with scalable CVD roll-to-roll system for conductive and PFC-free DWR textiles. 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., received $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 will make it possible to establish a garment-embedded electronics supply chain for multiple products, applications and markets.
This initial Heated Apparel product offers a steppingstone to the development and deployment of a 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.
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.