President Obama Declares SMLC as Winner of New Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute and New Manufacturing Hub Competitions

At the third annual SelectUSA Summit conducted in Washington, D.C., on June 20, the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama declared that the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC), will head the New Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, in a joint venture with the Department of Energy (DOE), in an international gathering of economic development officials, business leaders, and investors.

Recently, President Barack Obama announced that the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC), will lead the new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE).

The winning team is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, and is a consortium of almost 200 partners from over 30 states spanning across academia, including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), industry, and nonprofit organizations, aimed at stimulating progress in smart sensors and digital process controls that can fundamentally enhance the effectiveness of advanced manufacturing in the U.S.

The Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute is the ninth manufacturing center to win the award offered by the Obama Administration. It will aim to develop innovations such as smart sensors which can greatly decrease energy costs in advanced manufacturing. This will in turn make the American manufacturing sector strong and position the country as a manufacturing leader of tomorrow, assisting in maintaining the revival of U.S. manufacturing that is currently on track.

The Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, based out of Los Angeles, will also open five regional manufacturing centers spread across the country. Each center will focus only on local technology transfer and labor force development. UCLA will lead the California regional center, in a tie up with the city of Los Angeles, harnessing its capacity to make use of the largest manufacturing base in the US. Texas A&M University will lead the Gulf Coast center, a region known for its oil, chemical and gas industries. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) will lead the Northeast center, where ceramic, glass, and microelectronics manufacturing dominate the scene.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will head a hub in the Northwest, and NC State will lead a regional hub for the Southeast. Rensselaer will be accountable for taking care of the center for the DOE Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII) programs, involving regional partners from academia, industry, and government. On the whole, the CESMII partners will fetch over $140 million in public-private investment from top manufacturers and universities to create smart technologies and systems for application in advanced manufacturing.

Advanced manufacturing is accelerating the translation of U.S. innovations in science and technology into new products and processes, and helping to create jobs across all technology sectors. We are very pleased that Rensselaer has been selected to lead the Northeast center of a new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, and to contribute even more vigorously to the revitalization of our nation’s manufacturing base. At Rensselaer, we work within a paradigm that we term The New Polytechnic, in which we serve as a great crossroads for collaboration—working with partners across disciplines, sectors, and geographic regions—to address complex global challenges, using the most advanced tools and technologies, many of which are developed at Rensselaer. The leadership we provide to the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute will be the finest possible example of The New Polytechnic in action.

Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer President

“Our nation’s renewed desire to invest in advanced manufacturing and an innovation economy is tailor-made for institutions like RPI to give domestic manufacturing a boost. The Capital Region is the hottest real estate in the country for this type of work, and this partnership will grow quality jobs and advance our own unique brand of Empire State innovation. In Congress, I look forward to continuing my work to expand programs like the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation that give cutting-edge organizations the tools they need to grow the green collar job market and win the global marketplace of tomorrow,” said U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20).

“We must see Made in America again, starting right here in upstate New York,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “The Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute will help rebuild America’s proud manufacturing tradition and ensure our country remains globally competitive. This investment would help advance the cutting-edge research and development already happening at universities like RPI in the Capital Region. New York’s great manufacturing communities are best positioned to be home to one of these innovation hubs, sparking more growth in high-tech manufacturing sectors, jumpstarting new businesses, and creating good-paying jobs right here where we need them the most. This funding for New York would help create new opportunities for our universities and manufacturers to lead the way in this growing industry.” Craig Dory, Director for Business Development in the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS) at Rensselaer, will act as the Northeast Regional Director for CESMII.

Modeling, design, and controls specialist B.Wayne Bequette, professor of chemical and biological engineering, will act as the chief technology officer for the Northeast region, planning and coordinating R&D activities with academic and industrial partners.

In addition to the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS), Rensselaer research centers involved include: the Scientific Computation Research Center (SCOREC), the Computational Center for Innovations (CCI), which is home to the world’s swiftest and most dominant supercomputer, and the Center for Future Energy Systems (CFES). GLOBALFOUNDRIES and United Technologies (UT), members of the Institute, are also main industrial collaborators involved with engaging the business community around this manufacturing prospect.

CESMII will provide unique opportunities for GLOBALFOUNDRIES to enable transformational improvements in energy efficiency and U.S. manufacturing productivity while also creating high-skilled jobs. We believe that CESMII will offer an unparalleled opportunity for developing our current and future workforce. We are looking forward to being part of CESMII and connecting with other academic members such as RPI and SUNY to support a new generation of scientists and engineers.

Mike Russo, Director for U.S. Government Relations, Regulatory Affairs and Strategic Initiatives at GLOBALFOUNDRIES.

“United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) is excited to be part of the SMLC Institute. As the innovation engine of UTC, we understand the value of energy efficiency as a key differentiator for U.S. manufacturing competitiveness,” said John Milton-Benoit, director of the Manufacturing & Service Technologies Program at UTRC. “This Institute will help to develop and demonstrate advanced technologies required to achieve this goal.”

Supplementary industrial partners include: Corning Glass, Saint-Gobain, Pfizer, EWI, Praxair, MathWorks, Analog Devices, and Eastman Business Park. Academic partners for the CESMII Northeast Manufacturing Center include: Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), the University of at Buffalo (UB), University of Connecticut (UConn), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Rutgers University, Syracuse University (SU), and the State University of New York System (SUNY).

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) programs and the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) in each state will function to facilitate training, outreach, and support. Many testbeds are underway, including a semiconductor device manufacturing testbed located at the Manufacturing Technology Education Center (MTEC) in Saratoga County, N.Y.

The School of Engineering at Rensselaer is adept in the manufacturing sector, and has a reputable manufacturing network that provides industry, faculty, and students an opportunity to try out a number of fabrication and production services and capabilities.

For instance, the Manufacturing Innovation Learning Lab (MILL), which is aiding to revive advanced manufacturing education at Rensselaer, will be used to pass smart manufacturing ideas to undergraduate and graduate education.

Furthermore, the School of Engineering launched the newly created Manufacturing Certificate last fall. The certificate is a new feature at Rensselaer aimed at advanced process development and systems management in smart manufacturing.

The certificate comprises a project-based lecture and laboratory program for graduate students. The courses will be handled by faculty members from the School of Engineering, a team of foremost experts in advanced manufacturing, high-speed machining, micromachining, metals and ceramics processing, and composites, additive, and digital manufacturing.

CESMII programs will comprise of several projects spanning across manufacturing sectors and business sizes, including execution of the Smart Manufacturing Platform, data analytics and mathematical modeling, and creating and executing advanced automation and control algorithms.

Some of the CESMII partners measured goals include: doubling the energy productivity in U.S. manufacturing every decade, doubling the SM supply chain rate of increase in value and participation, decreasing deployment costs of smart manufacturing (SM) systems relative to advanced systems in five years, optimizing the SM workforce in the U.S. multifold in a decade, and decreasing U.S. energy use in a decade while enhancing manufacturing competitiveness.

For all U.S large and small scale businesses, regardless of their potential resource hurdles to have the chance to gain from the Institute’s progress, the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute will apply a technology marketplace and an open-source digital platform to combine state-of-the-art sensors, platforms, controls, and modeling technologies into manufacturing smart commercial systems. The Institute also will offer the manufacturing communities with simple and reasonably priced access to infrastructure, analytic tools, and industrial applications.

The U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a report to the President on “Ensuring American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing” on June 2011.

The report was co-authored by Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson and it offered an overarching approach and detailed recommendations for rejuvenating the country’s leadership in advanced manufacturing. The report assisted in inspiring the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, a chain of connected centers for advanced technologies, each with its own concentration, which currently also includes the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute. Jackson was appointed by President Obama, and served on PCAST from 2009 to 2014. She also was a part of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 Steering Committee, which made additional recommendations to the President on improving the country’s capacities in modern manufacturing.

After a slump spanning from 2000 to 2010, the U.S. manufacturing industry has added more than 800,000 jobs as of February 2010 and stays competitive for jobs and investment than in the recent decades.

A new survey of CEOs from all over the world declared the U.S as the most ideal country for investment and this was the fourth year the country has gained this title.

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