Manufacturing centers to focus on digital design, metal alloys

Obama to announce Feb. 25 that Chicago and Detroit won the bidding to host the public-private partnerships for manufacturing innovation


The expected announcement Tuesday of two manufacturing innovation institutes in Chicago and Detroit will continue the Obama Administration’s emphasis on high-tech manufacturing while creating a public-private partnership to deliver funding and existing technology.

White House officials were quoted as saying the partnership allows funding for “key technology areas that encourage investment and production in the U.S."

After a 10-month competition among cities to provide a home for these high-tech centers, Detroit’s manufacturing innovation center will focus on developing lightweight allows and metals, while the Chicago innovation center will focus on digital manufacturing. Each center is being funded with $70 million in Department of Defense funding and $70 from private corporations.

Among the companies mentioned in news reports as being part of these private funding sources are EWI, an Ohio-based research company in the metals industry for the Detroit project, and companies such as Siemens, Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin and General Electric for the digital manufacturing center in Chicago.

When the competition for these high tech centers began, White House officials said the centers would “serve as a regional hub designed to bridge the gap between basic research and product development, bringing together companies, universities and community colleges, and Federal agencies to co-invest in technology areas that encourage investment and production in the U.S.”

The first two such facilities already are in motion. In August 2012, Obama announced creation of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown, Ohio. In January 2014, he announced the creation of a power electronics hub in Raleigh, N.C. funded through the U.S. Department of Energy.

The implications for the innovation centers extend beyond just the manufacturing sector. While the digital manufacturing center “will raise the global competitiveness of U.S. small- and medium-sized manufacturers by smart and comprehensive use of the ‘digital thread’ throughout design, production and support” the Defense Department officials said it will benefit from such a consortium.

“The department requires complex, highly integrated systems to gain technological advantage, but it lacks the open market or volume to push costs or cycle times lower,” officials said in a white paper overview of the plan. It said the digital manufacturing design center would “help drive a paradigm shift in the development, production and sustainability of complex weapons systems by reducing acquisition lead time and costs through the application of digitally networked and synchronized processes and tools.”

For more on each of the innovations centers:

•  Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation
•  Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing
• Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
2015 Mid-Year Report: Manufacturing's newest tool: In a digital age, digits will play a key role in the plant of the future; Ethernet certification; Mitigate harmonics; World class maintenance
2015 Lubrication Guide: Green and gold in lubrication: Environmentally friendly fluids and sealing systems offer a new perspective
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths
New industrial buildings: Greener, cleaner, leaner; New building designs for industry; Take a new look at absorption cooling; Offshored jobs start to come back

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.