Missouri University of Science and Technology is one of 23 universities joining with industry, governmental agencies and other organizations to form a new national institute for advanced digital manufacturing and design.
Missouri S&T is a partner university of the Digital Lab for Manufacturing, a Chicago-based research center created through a $70 million award from the U.S. Department of Defense.
President Obama announced the award today (Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014) during a ceremony at the White House.
The Digital Lab for Manufacturing – or Digital Lab for short – is part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, a White House initiative to strengthen U.S. manufacturing. Digital Lab will be led by Chicago-based UI Labs, a nonprofit research organization connected to the University of Illinois.
“Missouri S&T’s expertise in advanced manufacturing is a perfect fit with the Digital Lab focus on next-generation manufacturing technologies,” says Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader. “We’re very pleased to be a part of this initiative, and we look forward to contributing our expertise to help the United States continue to lead the world in cutting-edge manufacturing technologies.”
Advanced manufacturing is one of two “signature” areas chosen by Missouri S&T for research emphasis, based on distinctive strengths that position the signature areas to be among the nation’s best. In the advanced manufacturing area, S&T emphasizes research and education in the emerging fields of additive manufacturing; micro- and nano-scale manufacturing; and sensor-enabled intelligent manufacturing.
Digital Lab brings together 40 industry partners and 30-plus academic, government and community partners, as well more than 500 supporting companies and organizations. In addition to the $70 million Defense Department funding, Digital Lab partners will contribute $250 million toward the effort, creating a $320 million institute.
Digital Lab partner organizations like Missouri S&T will focus on advanced analysis, intelligent machining and advanced manufacturing enterprise projects. Teams from across the U.S. will work together virtually to share and analyze manufacturing and design data.
Central to Digital Lab’s effort will be the use of mobile, cloud and high-performance computing to address the manufacturing challenges facing the Department of Defense and industry. S&T and other members will connect through an open-source online software platform called the Digital Manufacturing Commons to analyze data during the design and manufacturing processes, thereby reducing the time and cost of manufacturing.