Cyber hub for manufacturing launched in Chicago

The Digital Manufacturing Design and Innovation Institute (DMDII) announced today the launch of a "Cyber Hub for Manufacturing" with $750,000 in seed funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).


The Digital Manufacturing Design and Innovation Institute (DMDII) announced today the launch of a Cyber Hub for Manufacturing with $750,000 in seed funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Image courtesy: Katie Spain, CFE MediaThe Digital Manufacturing Design and Innovation Institute (DMDII) announced today the launch of a "Cyber Hub for Manufacturing" with $750,000 in seed funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The hub will serve as a testbed for the creation and adoption of new cybersecurity technologies to secure manufacturing shop floors across the United States and complements DMDII's public-private partnership as one of the Manufacturing USA institutes sponsored by DoD to advance the state-of-the-art in digital manufacturing in America.

"The launch of the Cyber Hub for Manufacturing embodies why DMDII exists," DMDII executive director Thomas McDermott said. "We need to think about securing our manufacturing equipment the way we secure our laptops, and the complexity of this issue means our partners will get there much faster by working together."

The threat of cyberattacks against the manufacturing sector is complex and growing. Manufacturers are connecting more equipment to the internet to compile and analyze data to make better business decisions. With increased connectivity comes a higher likelihood of a breach, and a cyberattack on physical equipment threatens worker safety and the integrity of the products being deployed to users (e.g., a defect in a vehicle component).

"As the manufacturing sector becomes more intertwined with advanced technology, data, and robotics, it is increasingly important that our manufacturers are prepared to face cybersecurity threats," said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). "This new cyber hub will be an extension of DMDII's innovative work of making America's manufacturing industry more competitive and secure. I was an early advocate of DMDII, I have fought for a steady stream of federal funding, and I am proud to support DMDII's focus on cybersecurity."

Small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) are particularly vulnerable as their resources to address potentially-sophisticated cyberattacks are not as plentiful as larger companies. At the same time, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are only as strong as the weakest link in their supply chains, which are often comprised of dozens of small suppliers. The United States is a prime target; in 2015, nearly half of attacked manufacturers were in the U.S., with Italy in a distant second at one quarter.

"With the launch of a Cyber Hub for Manufacturing at DMDII, Chicago is strengthening our position as a global leader in cybersecurity," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "The hub will further enhance our regional manufacturing innovation ecosystem that combines our legacy industries, strong base of small manufacturers, community and research universities, and exceptional talent."

DMDII will leverage its more than 300 partners across industry, academia, and government, as well as its 24,000 sq-ft manufacturing floor with wide-ranging capabilities, to test cybersecurity use cases in a real-world manufacturing environment. To address the acute challenge faced by SMMs, it will develop hands-on cybersecurity training programs and create online, on-demand learning modules to reach manufacturers outside of the region.

"The Manufacturing USA Institutes were established with this type of initiative in mind," said Tracy Frost, director of DoD Manufacturing Institutes and acting director of DoD Manufacturing Technology. "Applying the best ideas from the research and startup sectors to the real-world problems of industry—from component manufacturers to prime system integrators—helps secure the supply chain and ultimately, the warfighters who rely on these capabilities to achieve their missions."

The launch of the Cyber Hub for Manufacturing was announced at a celebration of the Institute's four-year anniversary, where stakeholders from across the country recognized the Institute's role in catalyzing a collaboration of 25+ established manufacturing technology companies, 40+ universities, 150+ small manufacturers and startups, and dozens of community and civic groups around the concept of making helping U.S. manufacturers improve.

The Cyber Hub is the result of recommendations developed through DMDII workshops with government, industry, and academic partners since the institute's establishment in 2014.

Digital Manufacturing Design and Innovation Institute (DMDII) 

- Edited from a DMDII press release by CFE Media. See more Control Engineering cybersecurity stories.

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