July 17, 2015

CHICAGO – July 17, 2015 – The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), a UI LABS collaboration, is announcing its latest call for technology proposals. This new call for proposals will consist of over $20 million in funding across five applied research and development project topics. DMDII will use these funds to invest in digital design and manufacturing technologies that can improve American factories, reduce manufacturing costs and create new opportunities for American manufacturing businesses.

The five topics, ranging from improved cyber security for manufacturers to reducing the variability of manufactured items, will focus on different aspects of digital manufacturing and design innovation. They were developed by DMDII’s industry, university, and government members based on the most compelling business opportunities proposed as innovative solutions to industry problems in these technology domains.

Digital design and manufacturing is the use of computing, data analysis, and networking technologies in factories and across the lifecycle of manufactured products. Digital manufacturing is often referred to as “smart manufacturing” or “Industrie 4.0.”

“This is what the future of manufacturing looks like,” said Dr. William P. King, DMDII’s Chief Technology Officer. “These topics represent key digital manufacturing technologies that can significantly improve the competitiveness of American manufacturing businesses.”

The five topics are as follows:

  • Completing the Model-Based Definition (DMDII-15-11). Companies spend billions of dollars on cost avoidance, repairing data, translators, and other human-in-the loop tasks. Software applications for product model definition for characterizing assemblies, parts, attributes, and manufacturing information usable by various software for the whole product life cycle is needed.
  • Technologies Enabling Supply Chain Visibility (DMDII-15-12). The goal of this topic is to demonstrate technologies that can provide real-time, dynamic visibility into the status of key information to facilitate efficient response to rapidly changing conditions.
  • Cyber Security for Intelligent Machines (DMDII-15-13). This topic focuses on the development of technologies that can identify, manage and mitigate the cyber security risks associated with digitally connected manufacturing equipment.
  • Hardware / Software Toolkit for Real-Time Machine and Process Diagnostics, Monitoring and Self-Correction (DMDII-15-14). This topic aims to implement machine intelligence into manufacturing equipment in a way that is low cost and scalable.
  • Agile Manufacturing to Compensate for Production Variability (DMDII-15-15). The goal of this topic is to demonstrate digital manufacturing technologies that mitigate variability among manufactured products, and to thereby reduce manufacturing costs and more rapidly bring new products to market.

“Our members are committed to working together to digitize American manufacturing, and these project calls are another sign of our tremendous momentum,” said Dr. Dean Bartles, Chief Manufacturing Officer at UI LABS and Executive Director of DMDII. “The topics identified in this call for proposals have the potential to create significant benefits for our members and to drive the future of smart manufacturing. DMDII is continuously recruiting new members, and we invite any U.S. company to join and benefit from these exciting technology advances.”

“We define digital manufacturing and design as the aggregation and application of digital data across the lifecycle of a manufactured product, or what is often called the Digital Thread,” states Gregory A. Harris, Ph.D., P.E., Program Manager for DMDII, U.S. Army, Aviation & Missile Research, Development & Engineering Center. “The purpose of this public-private partnership is to address problems in the common, pre-competitive space, building a technology portfolio to demonstrate and apply digital manufacturing technologies and to accelerate these technologies to market, increasing the competitiveness of American manufacturers. This call for proposals consisting of five problem topics will result in a significant advancement in the creation of a powerful digital manufacturing capability in the U.S. Industrial Base.”

“Digital manufacturing is the Industrial Internet applied to manufacturing,” continues King. “Every big manufacturing organization is looking at this right now. It is a hot topic and no one wants to miss out on what is happening.”

Of the $20 million in project funding, DMDII has allocated $10 million towards these applied R&D projects, with the funds originating from the U.S. Government via the Department of Defense. The additional $10 million in project funds will be contributed by at least 1:1 “cost-share” by industry and academic team members.

The projects will run for approximately 12 to 24 months, and DMDII expects that the resulting technologies will be transitioned to industry shortly thereafter. DMDII is particularly interested in how these technologies can help small manufacturing businesses. All manufacturers and technology companies are encouraged to contact DMDII about becoming involved in these technology projects.

DMDII is planning a public workshop at UI LABS, in Chicago, Ill., on September 10, 2015, at which the technical requirements for each solicitation will be thoroughly described, and efforts will be made to encourage the formation of competing teams. Teams are encouraged to include large, medium and small manufacturing and technology companies, academic institutions, government agencies, and other organizations.

Complete information about the project calls, proposal submission requirements, and workshop logistics are available by visiting the DMDII website (www.dmdii.org). Proposals are due in October.


UI LABS solves large-scale industrial challenges by forming consortia of university, industry, and civic partners who innovate and commercialize new technology solutions. UI LABS is developing a portfolio of applied research and commercialization programs that lead to a return on investment for its partners and improve local, regional and national competitiveness.

The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) is UI LABS’ first program. DMDII is revitalizing American manufacturing, by helping U.S. manufacturers to harness data to make their products better, faster, and more cost competitive. Learn more at www.uilabs.org andwww.dmdii.org