April 28, 2021
BROOKLYN, N.Y— Nanotronics recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the company’s flagship manufacturing center in the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s historic Building 20, a 150-year-old former shipbuilding factory. Present at the ceremony were New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and representatives of Empire State Development (ESD) and the City University of New York’s (CUNY’s) Medgar Evers College, Nanotronics said in a release.
Nanotronics (www.nanotronics.co) manufactures hardware and software capable of working on a nanometer scale. The company said that it has “redefined factory control through the invention of a platform that combines artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and sophisticated imaging to assist human ingenuity in detecting flaws and anomalies in manufacturing.” Nanotronics works with leading-edge companies, in industries from aerospace to electronics and healthcare, to help them drive up yield, reduce footprint and waste, lower costs, and speed the process of design iteration, the company said.
The opening of the Nanotronics manufacturing center is said to reinforce the Navy Yard’s mission to anchor the rebirth of urban manufacturing, create sustainable urban manufacturing jobs, and grow the modern industrial sector in New York City. It also comes as the city is focused on reopening and getting New Yorkers back to work.
The project was primarily funded through $3.25 million from the City of New York and a $2.25 million Regional Economic Development Council capital grant through ESD in exchange for a commitment of 190 jobs, according to the release.
The new factory, designed by Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers, will house many aspects of the company’s business, from research and development to production and design. It will also employ Nanotronics’s proprietary platform, Intelligent Factory Control (IFC) to ensure quality and safety. Nanotronics’s artificial intelligence researchers, computer scientists, chemists, and physicists will be able to work directly with skilled machinists on the manufacturing floor as they strive to develop innovations that will lead partner industries to a smaller factory footprint, less waste, and a faster route from R&D to production, the company said.
The firm will also be able to recruit top talent locally through New York institutions, including the Navy Yard’s Employment Center and STEAM Center (the Yard’s on-site vocational high school), the City University of New York (CUNY), Cornell Tech, New York University, and Columbia University. Nanotronics has partnered with CUNY Medgar Evers College to host nearly 30 interns in the last three years as part of Empire State Development’s STARTUP-NY program.
“The Brooklyn Navy Yard has a history of serving New Yorkers in times of crisis, and it proved its worth once again at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor de Blasio, in prepared remarks at the ceremony. “Today, it has an important role to play in our city’s recovery—by building a sustainable and high-tech manufacturing base in the heart of New York City. From creating hundreds of jobs to nurturing the next generation of STEM talent, Nanotronics and the Navy Yard are helping build a recovery for all of us, and I’m proud to support their extraordinary efforts.”
Nanotronics expanded its New York presence into the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2016. As the first and largest tenant of New Lab, the company grew its research and development workforce three-fold. By 2018, the company needed to expand manufacturing operations for redundant manufacturing and to rapidly scale new products.
“We wanted to create a modern-day Edison Lab,” said Matthew Putman, CEO and cofounder of Nanotronics, in the release. ”That vision of building in a way that was never done before, with the same hope and possibilities of better jobs, local products, and leading the world in invention, seemed like a real possibility in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. We are thrilled to advance manufacturing with the perspective of seeing our past, looking out of our windows at the city where so much of our present is on view, and build an intelligent factory where robotics, AI, and humans can work together to create a sustainable future.”
The foundational roots within the former manufacturing hub created an ideal location with waterfront access. The hub’s location in the Navy Yard also provides space for partner firms in the life sciences, semiconductor, aerospace, automobile, additive manufacturing, and quantum computing sectors to grow alongside Nanotronics, the company said.
“The Navy Yard is quickly becoming a national model for bringing sustainable manufacturing jobs back to cities, and companies like Nanotronics are leading that charge,” said David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, in the release. ”Nanotronics is the perfect example of the type of innovative, vertically-integrated manufacturer that can grow and thrive at the Yard, exemplifying a new model of urban manufacturing and creating high-quality, middle class jobs.”
In July 2020, ESD restructured the disbursement schedule for Nanotronics’s $2.25 million capital grant to assist with COVID-19 response efforts. Empire State Development frontloaded the funding to help the company accelerate production of nHale®, a BiPAP (bi-level positive airway pressure) machine that it created for patients suffering from COVID-19. The non-invasive respiratory relief machine received an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. FDA.
In just 90 days, the Nanotronics team conceived, designed, built, and received the EUA from the FDA for its nHale product to treat COVID-19 in private hospitals, homes, and large converted spaces. The nHale machine was one of the first and most cost-effective products to fill the much-needed gap in the NIH treatment guidelines for a phased respiratory approach to COVID treatment, the company said.
Nanotronics is partnering with CUNY’s Medgar Evers College in the START-UP NY program, which fosters collaboration between innovative companies and universities across New York State. Through this program, Nanotronics executives work with faculty and students at Medgar Evers to mentor students, collaborate on research projects, host career service workshops, place students in meaningful paid internships and jobs, and develop teaching curricula and programs in STEM and the humanities. Students receive real-world business and technical experience in an emerging high-tech industry—preparing them for a wide variety of future careers, including at Nanotronics.
“Nanotronics has provided on-the-job training to our students, with internships resulting in full-time employment,” said Jo-Ann Rolle, Dean of the School of Business at Medgar Evers College, in the release. ”We hope to replicate this partnership and are excited to see current and future employees who are now at the forefront of innovation.”