IIoT Project Funding Available through Youngstown Business Incubator

Date March 7, 2024
Article Authors
Daniel Longo

Manufacturers are experiencing significant innovation in their industry.   New technologies that connect machines to the internet, referred to as IIoT or the Industrial Internet of Things, are allowing manufacturers to take advantage of the resulting connectivity and data to improve production efficiencies, minimize downtime, and in some cases, reduce dependency on manual labor.  Manufacturers recognize that they must consider the use of or expansion of these technologies to maintain competitiveness.

The Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) works with manufacturers in a variety of ways, including supporting the adoption and continued use of additive and advanced manufacturing technologies.  In fact, manufacturers in Northeast Ohio who are introducing IIoT technologies may be eligible for funding when partnering with YBI on these projects.  To learn more about this grant opportunity, HBK Manufacturing Solutions spoke with YBI’s Stephanie Gaffney, VP of Advanced Manufacturing Programs and Daniel Longo, Engineering Program Manager for Advanced Manufacturing who shared the following information:

  1. Tell us about the IIoT funding you have received and how it is being used to help manufacturers.

    The YBI is operating under a Small Business Administration (SBA) grant to help posture regional manufacturers in adopting or advancing IIoT applications within their shop floor. These adoption or advancement opportunities benefit manufacturers by identifying appropriate solution models and assisting financially with the grant’s reimbursement allotments to physically implement such solutions.

  2. What types of projects are eligible for funding?

    Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Data-Driven Manufacturing (DDM) projects may be eligible.  These are vast topics that include an array of subset categories. These categories include but are not limited to:
    • Machine monitoring applications
    • Preventative maintenance
    • Connection of data and equipment processes
    • Data integration with Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), or other software programs
    • Smart robotics
    • Sensors
    • Manufacturing efficiency
    • Tracking and tracing
    • Downtime minimization

  3. Is the funding a grant or loan? Is any company match required?

    The project was grant-generated and is being offered as a 50% match reimbursement up to a target amount where the available allotment reaches its maximum cap ($12,500).

  4. Are there eligibility criteria (i.e. location, business size, economic status, etc.) that a business must meet?

    The only requirement for manufacturers is that their operation location must be located within Northeast Ohio.

  5. Can you recommend any steps for a manufacturer who has not explored IIoT or DDM to take in order to understand if these technologies can help their business?

    Anyone seeking IIoT or DDM but unsure if it may be the right fit is encouraged to reach out to the YBI where we can thoroughly investigate their manufacturing operation and help advise accordingly. 

Funding opportunities remain until funds are exhausted or until the end of 2024, whatever comes sooner.  Funding is available for up to six additional projects, so interested manufacturers should act quickly.  For more information about YBI’s IIoT project funding, please contact HBK Manufacturing Solutions at 330-758-8613 or manufacturing@hbkcpa.com.  Interested manufacturers may also contact YBI directly by emailing Daniel Longo at dlongo@ybi.org or Stephanie Gaffney at sgaffney@ybi.org. 

Contributing Authors:

Daniel Longo is the Engineering Program Manager for Advanced Manufacturing at the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) in Youngstown, Ohio. His passion for engineering can be accredited towards his time as a Combat Engineer in the United States Marine Corps where he led a vast array of mission critical engineering operations. A native of the Youngstown area, Daniel returned to his hometown and gained experience in industry with General Motors of Lordstown as well as earned his Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering at Youngstown State University. Daniel currently leads YBI’s supply chain outreach and development operations, IIoT adoption as well as integration efforts, and supports advanced manufacturing education and workforce development for both civilian and DoD sectors. 

Stephanie Gaffney is the VP of Advanced Manufacturing Programs for YBI and brings over 18 years of engineering program management to this project. She has significant experience with a technology transition grant to integrate additive manufacturing into small to medium manufacturers throughout the state of Ohio. Stephanie has five years of experience managing $20 million in unclassified R&D projects to address urgent joint operational needs of industry, military, academia, and non-profits. She served as program manager for all phases of the Maturation of Additive Manufacturing for Low-Cost Sustainment project funded by America Makes, as well as numerous state and federal funded projects.   

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