New Partnerships Inspire New Technology Solutions



tech-partners.jpgAt the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center), we are always looking for the best ways to support manufacturers through innovative solutions. Much like how the many technologies of Industry 4.0 are overlapping – like combining sensors and a Manufacturing Execution System to gather and analyze performance data, for example – resources to support manufacturers should be overlapping, too, as multiple solutions often are needed to tackle one problem.

Recognizing this, our team at The Center has worked to foster partnerships among technology vendors in Michigan to create more opportunities for collaboration and ultimately merge technologies together to provide the best solutions possible. The story of one of our recent collaborations is outlined below.

In all cases, technology implementations should be driven by a need. In our situation, The Center needed to find the best way to continually disinfect our entire facility before reopening to employees and guests. The goal was to optimize efficiency and safety at a reasonable cost. To find a solution, our Industry 4.0 team began considering what technologies were available and how they could be used together to become more effective.

Following this initial research, The Center started building a prototype of their idea: ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection technology combined with an Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) to create a mobile cleaning device. In theory, this combination of technologies would fulfill all The Center’s needs, providing an efficient, cost effective and proven method of disinfection.

After digitally building the prototype using CAD software, the team then built a physical model using UV disinfection technology from UVSheltron, located in Troy, Mich., and a Mobile Industrial Robot (MiR), provided by Industrial Control in Zeeland, Mich. From there, The Center reached out to each company to begin collaborating on ways to improve the design and create a final product.

Facilitated by our team, this collaboration among vendors led to us successfully combining the technologies to solve our initial problem. The final product can be seen in action here.

By establishing this working partnership, not only was our problem solved, but these Michigan companies also expanded their products for more markets and applications. The newly integrated technology can be utilized in businesses, hotels, hospitals, or any large space where disinfection is needed to protect against COVID-19 or other contagious illnesses. More opportunities for protection are now possible with this newest innovation.

This partnership also has pushed each company to further improve on their product designs. For example, Industrial Control is currently working with UVSheltron to create a power transfer that would more easily power the UV lamps. MiR has shared information about similar innovations they have created to support these efforts and continue improving the technology to provide even better solutions.

Most importantly, this collaboration has shown it is possible to provide more solutions to manufacturers using technology that did not exist before. During the development process, the companies realized the design could be optimized by producing a cart that could dock with the robot to provide more uses for the technology. With this new addition, manufacturers can now get more out of their investment as the robot can work in the plant during the day and changeover to disinfect by night.

Manufacturers may sometimes have a hard time accessing the technologies they need, but partnerships like these make it easier. This is just one example of how multiple technologies can merge to solve manufacturing problems. Going forward, The Center will continue collaborating with local vendors to provide more (and better) innovative solutions to solve manufacturers’ biggest challenges. To learn more about how we can support your company on its Industry 4.0 journey with a free Technology Opportunity Assessment, click here or contact us at

Manufacturers in the Monroe, Mich., area have an opportunity to see Industry 4.0 technologies in action at The Center’s upcoming Industry 4.0 Tech Road Show, hosted in partnership with the Monroe County Business Development Corporation, on Tuesday, May 18, from 1 to 3pm. Learn more about this free event and register here.

To share additional guidance on how to approach Industry 4.0, Mike Coast, President of The Center, will speak at the upcoming I-275 Industrial Council meeting on May 20 from 8 to 10am. Up to 20 participants can attend either in person at The Center’s facility in Plymouth or virtually via Zoom to hear observations on the current state of the manufacturing industry along with new technology programs available to support manufacturers. Register for this free event by contacting us at

To see our disinfection robot in person, join us August 26 & 27 at the Advanced Manufacturing Expo in Grand Rapids where we will provide a live demo and unveil the second version of our UV MiR disinfection system alongside UVSheltron and Industrial Control. Learn more and reserve your spot here.


mcgray_m-web.jpgMichael McGray, Information Systems Manager
Michael McGray has served as the Information Systems Manager at The Center since 2011. For more than 20 years, Michael has focused on finding the best applications of Information Technology to help solve critical business problems. Throughout his career, Michael’s hard work and passion for what he does have allowed him many opportunities to align his core expertise with various business sectors, including finance, marketing, sales and business administration. Now, Michael is ready to work with small and medium-sized manufacturers as they take the next technological leap into Industry 4.0.




Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at


Categories: Industry 4.0, Innovation, Technology