Austin Polytech announces new course for manufacturing robotic surgical equipment

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As Mayor Emanuel unveiled his economic development plan highlighting advanced sectors like medical equipment manufacturing, students at Austin Polytechnical Academy are learning first-hand about the production of a brand new surgical device, the Microcutter.

Matrix Tooling, Inc. & Matrix Plastic Products in Wood Dale, Ill., manufactures all plastic components for the complex Microcutter device, which can simultaneously cut and staple tissue during laparoscopic procedures.

As part of Austin Polytech’s partnership-based manufacturing career program, Matrix helps teach students about the Microcutter’s development from start to finish, beginning with product design and ending with surgical use in hospitals.

“In our 10-week Scientific Concepts course, we’ll see how the scientific method is used again and again in every step of the Microcutter manufacturing process,” said Kelsey Gibney, chemistry teacher at Austin Polytech in a press release.

During their first visit to Matrix, students had an opportunity to see how the Microcutter’s parts and tools are designed and produced. In April, students will return to Matrix to learn more generally about manufacturing in the medical field.

The partnership with Matrix reflects Austin Polytech’s school-wide mission to prepare students for college and career success in manufacturing, engineering, and related fields. Applied learning and industry-related material are incorporated throughout the curriculum.

Austin Polytech’s cutting-edge career program also partners with 59 Chicago-area manufacturers to provide students with job shadowing experiences, paid internships and full-time employment. In the school’s WaterSaver Faucet Manufacturing Technology Center, students also earn industry-recognized machining credentials from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills.

The city’s new plan to spur job creation and economic growth, unveiled at World Business Chicago on February 29, highlights Austin Polytech as an existing initiative that supports “Strategy 1: Become a Leading Hub of Advanced Manufacturing.” The 64-page document,  “A Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs,” projects 4.42% annual growth in pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing in the Chicago area.

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