May 6, 2015

At the official groundbreaking of the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) in October, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that he was “excited about the unknowns we’re about to discover.” Today, the DMDII gave the public a peek at these unknowns, announcing new “project calls” for 7 separate research and development projects.

The “project calls” are solicitations for groundbreaking R&D investments totaling at least $25M. The seven projects each represent a different aspect of digital manufacturing and design and have been conceived to uniquely demonstrate how the use of data during the production process can help streamline American factories.

“This project call presents a huge opportunity to advance digital manufacturing technologies in a way that solves real business problems,” said Dr. William King, DMDII’s Chief Technology Officer. “We have worked with digital manufacturing leaders from industry, government, and academia to identify their most important problems.”

The seven projects are:

  1. Factory Cybersecurity Infrastructure Assessment
    This project is focused on developing tools for assessing the cybersecurity vulnerability of small manufacturing facilities and businesses.
  2. Smart Factory Visibility and Real-Time Optimization
    This plan is committed to optimizing factory performance through the use of digital information. Basically, this project aims to “digitize every aspect of factory operations.”
  3. Communication Standards for Intelligent Machines
    Robots require a universal language and this R&D topic is about developing the digital language that will be used by automated manufacturing equipment.
  4. Shop Floor Augmented Reality and Wearable Computing
    Focused on developing digital eyewear and other wearable computing technologies for the shop floor, this project is primarily about discovering new ways to capture digital information.
  5. Systems Design using the Digital Thread
    This R&D topic is centered around developing digital tools that will help designers bring products to the market faster and more affordably.
  6. Operating System for Cyber-Physical Manufacturing
    This topic aims to develop technologies that allow for the operation and configuration of manufacturing production equipment that is distributed across different locations.
  7. Virtually Guided Certification
    The goal of this project is to reduce the cost and risk of product and process innovation by using modeling to predict the performance of new materials.