Last week the Department of Energy named the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC) as the recipient of a $70 million federal award to create a nationwide Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute.
Headquartered at UCLA, with regional centers in New York, North Carolina, Texas, California and Washington state, the institute’s goal is to spur industrial growth and innovation.
This will be funded by more than $140 million in public-private investment that’s geared toward developing advanced manufacturing technology, a skilled workforce and a steady pipeline of STEM talent.
I’m confident this decision will positively impact our company and our customers. As a founding member of the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, Rockwell Automation is one of 200 partners that make up the SMLC, comprised of academia, industry and non-profits.
The Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute plays to our sweet spot, using an open-source digital platform and technology architecture. It integrates advanced sensors, controls, platforms and modeling technologies into commercial smart manufacturing systems in a “fast fail” format that often results in faster solutions.
Specifically, we will leverage the SMLC’s efforts to develop a shared framework for industrial applications. We’ll create applications through an iterative process using test beds targeted to regional industries and leveraging our local academic resources.
We’ll focus on the needs of small and medium manufacturers and OEMs by establishing common ecosystems that will facilitate interaction and information using common formats. It will enable our customers to deploy successful smart manufacturing solutions sooner.
In Wisconsin, we support the Next Generation Manufacturing Council. It’s an economic development initiative designed to create a new regional center targeted to local industries, including industrial automation, energy management, food-to-fork, clean water and others. The Next Generation Manufacturing Council would be able to complete small test beds quickly to determine what works and what doesn’t.
In short, this new institute will enable us to provide small, medium and large manufacturers with new and unprecedented access to smart tools, innovation and the ability to achieve their version of The Connected Enterprise.