January 10, 2018

Contract R&D services speed innovation for startups, academic researchers, small manufacturers

The Digital Manufacturing Design and Innovation Institute (DMDII) announces that it is opening its floor to manufacturers and academic institutions needing to quickly test process improvements.

“We are seeing a manufacturing renaissance in Chicago and the Digital Manufacturing Design and Innovation Institute is adding to that momentum,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “By opening their doors, sharing equipment and providing expertise to small businesses, startups and students, DMDII is ensuring Chicago’s advanced manufacturing ecosystem will be stronger for generations to come.”

DMDII is sharing not only its advanced manufacturing equipment but also its technical expertise to support innovation.

DMDII’s R&D testbed eliminates a manufacturer’s need to buy testing equipment and give up production capacity for experimentation.

For example, when engineers discover a potential operational improvement, such as a new turning technique or tool design, they must test it in a real-world environment and collect the data.  Since manufacturing equipment and production downtime is expensive, R&D engineers often wait months for internal equipment to become available.

Now academic and commercial institutions can utilize DMDII’s equipment at its Goose Island facility in Chicago for as long as several months, with the option of receiving additional support from DMDII’s technical team, led by 28-year manufacturing veteran, Tony Del Sesto. This testbed is open to DMDII members and non-members, and the cost varies based on usage and need.

Del Sesto’s team includes mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, systems integration engineering, manufacturing engineering, machinist, and assembly specialists.

One of DMDII’s manufacturing partners, Rolls-Royce, utilized DMDII’s facility to test three new manufacturing tools and processes. Testing took less than a week when it would have taken more than three months had it been done internally.  The innovations are already being implemented in their operations.

“We’re alleviating a bottleneck in the manufacturing R&D process.  Helping companies validate a new technology in 6 days when it could otherwise take 6 months speaks to what digital manufacturing and DMDII is all about,” said UI LABS Chief Program Officer Thomas McDermott.

Contact DMDII Operations Manager Kym Wehrle for more information at Kym.Wehrle@uilabs.org, 312-281-6858.

The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) is where innovative manufacturers forge their futures. In partnership with UI Labs and the Department of Defense, DMDII provides factories with the digital tools and expertise they need to begin building every part better than the last. As a result, our more than 300 partners increase their productivity and win more business.

UI LABS is a tech organization driving the digital future of manufacturing and cities. We help our more than 300 partners across universities + industry solve problems far too big for them to solve on their own. By guiding these partners through complex projects, we help them deliver cutting-edge solutions to their customers, improve their financial performance and transform industries.