atrubia@ricentral.com

Last week, Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division announced a collaborative partnership with the University of Rhode Island’s college of engineering. Hexagon is a multinational company that specializes in sensor, software and autonomous solutions, with the manufacturing intelligence division located in North Kingstown. 

According to the company, Hexagon will provide URI with “manufacturing technologies to enable a rich research environment for undergraduate and graduate programs focused on advanced manufacturing.”

The partnership comes after URI opened its new Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering in October. The center is a nearly 200,000-square-foot, six-story building, which was built with the intention of strengthening the engineering college’s leadership in education. 

“The work conducted there will build on research in the areas of clean energy, nanotechnology, robotics, cybersecurity, water for the world, biomedical technology, smart cities and sensors and instrumentation,” according to Hexagon’s announcement about the partnership.  

Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division has had a long history with URI, supporting engineering students through an internship program and study abroad assistance. 

The company has particularly been supportive of URI’s International Engineering Program. 

International Engineering is a five-year program that allows students to graduate with two bachelor’s degrees, one in science and engineering and the other in a foreign language, including Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese or Spanish. Students who choose to go into the International Engineering program spend one year abroad taking a course in the language of the country of their choosing, after which they take an internship in said country. 

In the past, several URI students have taken internships at Hexagon branches throughout the world, with many returning to Rhode Island after graduating to work at the manufacturing intelligence division. 

When URI president David Dooley gave the keynote address at Hexagon’s Manufacturing Day last month, he said the International Engineering Program produced a “very different kind of engineer–a globally competent, globally mobile engineer” who is “comfortable living outside of a country in which they grew up and competent in at least two languages.” 

“It’s exactly the kind of engineer America needs to produce more of,” Dooley said. ”

Now, Hexagon said its taking the partnership with URI to a “new level,” providing the engineering facility with state-of-the-industry metrology systems, applications software for both measurement and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), and simulation software tools for design engineering. 

And last week, Dooley said the partnership represented a continuation of Hexagon’s long-time investment in the university. 

“The University is grateful for Hexagon’s continuing investment in our engineering programs. Its support is recognition of the strength of our faculty, their areas of research and the importance of educating and training the next generation of scientists and engineers,” Dooley said. 

Angus Taylor, president and CEO of the manufacturing intelligence division in North Kingstown, said that Hexagon recognized early on that URI’s International Engineering Program was an “important local asset for building our workforce with graduates with technical knowledge and the skills needed to delve into the international business arena.”

Taylor went on to say that the state’s support and investment in the Fascitelli Center project underlines URI’s commitment to the students and workforce that will “drive Rhode Island’s future.”

“We are a willing participant in their mission to shape engineering education and the world through innovation, invention and passion,” Taylor said. “We are proud that our technology portfolio and Hexagon experts across the global spectrum will support the university’s research and development efforts.” 

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