ANN ARBOR, MI. Nov. 1 – The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) has announced that with support from key industry members and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the establishment of the first station in a planned national manufacturing grid. This station will bring cutting edge, digital manufacturing tools to manufacturers - first in Michigan, then across the country.
High performance modeling and simulation (M&S) tools for manufacturing will help Michigan manufacturing companies work faster, produce more accurate results, increase and diversify their businesses and create jobs, while boosting their global competitiveness.
For example, NCMS member L&L Products - a custom chemical compounding firm located in Romeo - has been a model for the benefits of adopting digital manufacturing. Ten years ago, the company made the risky and costly decision to invest in the hardware, software and people it needed to adopt M&S capabilities. Since that investment, L&L Products has doubled its sales and the size of the company.
"We have studied and surveyed the market of thousands of manufacturers." said Jon Riley, Vice President of Digital Manufacturing for NCMS. "They need these tools; they see how advanced M&S capabilities will transform their businesses, but have also identified barriers to adoption such as accessibility, affordability and expertise. This NCMS initiative will break down these barriers to entry for the nearly 300,000 small and medium sized manufacturers across the nation."
In 2011, NCMS rolled out its plan to revitalize American manufacturing by democratizing access to powerful simulation software and high performance computing capabilities. The Center formed its Digital Manufacturing Strategic Interest Group (DM SIG), which brings hardware and software providers, large and small industry, as well as academia together to steer the adoption of digital manufacturing tools - essentially navigating the barriers for the smaller manufacturer. This initiative will create a network of regional stations for training, outreach, and tools, all connected by a powerful virtual environment where teams of innovators from many disciplines can collaborate, driving new innovations and more optimal products and processes.
The General Electric Company will host this first station at its Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center (AMSTC) in Van Buren Township, Michigan which will become a gateway for Michigan manufacturers; aiding them in increasing their productivity and improving their global competitiveness all while creating jobs in the region.
"Michigan manufacturers -- and the talented workers they employ -- help make our state a global center of innovation," Michigan Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Michael A. Finney said. "We are proud to support efforts like this that cement our manufacturing dominance and help our businesses compete, grow, and create new jobs."
General Electric, a member of NCMS, is more than just a hosting partner on the project. "We see this as an opportunity to bring more Michigan manufacturers into our supply chain," said Doug Dinon, Advanced Manufacturing Technology Leader for GE Global Research. "Michigan has the talent and resources General Electric requires and NCMS was the keystone to us reaching them. We are very excited about what this partnership and NCMS' initiative will bring to our organization." "When you talk about creating jobs and growing the economy in Michigan, these are the kind of long-range opportunities that will really make a difference," stated Rick Jarman, President & CEO of NCMS, "Smaller manufacturers wouldn't have access to the kind of tools we're talking about without a station like this. But with access, that same small manufacturer could become a supplier to larger companies like GE. You can just imagine what that would mean to the hundreds of companies in Michigan that will suddenly get the chance to make that kind of leap."
MEDC has provided a grant for the creation of the station at GE which is matched with industry support from NCMS members; it is slated to be open to the public first quarter 2013.
For more information on NCMS' digital manufacturing initiative please visit www.ncms.org.
The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, the largest cross industry collaborative Research & Development consortium in North America, is dedicated to driving innovation in commercial, defense, robotics and environmentally sustainable manufacturing. NCMS has over 25 years of experience in the formation and management of complex, multi-partner collaborative R&D programs, and is backed by corporate members representing virtually every manufacturing sector. For more information on NCMS, visit http://www.ncms.org/.