Andrew Wheatley Centre to train CMU students in advanced manufacturing
The offerings of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) have been further diversified with the opening of a new facility that provides training in 3D printing and other types of Advanced Manufacturing.
Located at the university’s main campus at Palisadoes Park in Kingston, the Dr. Andrew Wheatley Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing is a state of the art facility for additive manufacturing and digital prototyping.
Speaking at Wednesday’s launch, Professor Fritz Pinnock, President of CMU, said the centre is the largest and most sophisticated advanced manufacturing and 3D printing service provider and training centre in the Caribbean.
He added that the centre will be used to help close the skills gap, thereby better enabling students to take full advantage of the opportunities that abound during this, the fourth industrial revolution.
“Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a key area where we are seeing increased local and international demand. The centre will not just be a service provider but a research hub for generating practical solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s manufacturing problems by bringing both students and industry practitioners together through technology.” Professor Pinnock said.
The centre was named after a stalwart of Science and Technology and a staunch supporter of the CMU, Andrew Wheatley. With his firm belief in self-actualization through education, Dr. Wheatley has for years taken keen interest in the development of the CMU and its offerings with a vision to help the institution maximize its potential to prepare the next generation of engineers, logistics specialists, seafarers and ultimately, problem solvers.
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Wheatley said it was a distinct honour to lend his name to a facility that will undoubtedly transform Jamaica’s educational, technological and manufacturing landscapes and that is housed at an institution that is dear to his heart.
“Education is a remarkable force that can transform lives, change circumstances and improve communities and countries. As a longtime supporter of the CMU, I have seen firsthand the impact this institution has had and continues to have on Jamaica. Through this centre, the CMU will further cement its role as the premier institution for training in engineering and logistics within the region,” said the Minister of Technology.
The centre will be headed by Erica Simmons a technology leader and advocate who has held a variety of leadership positions at Siemens AG, Oracle Corporation and Expedia.
Simmons brings a strong technical background, outstanding management experience and an international network of contacts to start and sustain the centre.
“Additive manufacturing has already been identified as the next wave of manufacturing. Many international companies are already utilizing this technology in a variety of interesting ways,” said Mrs. Simmons. She added, “we too will be performing a variety of research and development projects. It is an honor to be able to lead this initiative and work with our international partners and suppliers to implement this state of the art technology. I know the centre will bring immense value not only to CMU but to Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.”
She added that the centre was made a reality through support from local and international partners who have assisted by providing cutting edge equipment, software, funding, and expertise.
International partners for the initiative include Siemens, Ultimaker, Stratasys, @DotProduct, Autodesk and SSI, while locally, the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology and the Universal Service Fund (USF) provided endorsement and start-up funding respectively.