Last month, President Obama announced that the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC), the nationwide non-profit organization co-founded at UCLA, was chosen to lead the new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. The Institute is the ninth manufacturing hub awarded by the Obama Administration.
The Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute will be headquartered in Los Angeles and bring in over $140 million in public-private investment from leading universities and manufacturers to address industry challenges and build a supporting education and workforce pipeline.
UCLA’s Vice Provost and SMLC’s Chief Technology Officer Jim Davis, whose role as the university’s Chief Academic Technology Officer includes executive leadership of the Office of Information Technology and the Institute of Digital Research and Education, will serve from the university as the interim executive director of the Institute.
“Information technology has transformed other industries like banking, healthcare, entertainment, and transportation – but manufacturing has not yet taken advantage of the ways information technology, sensors, analytics, and controls can transform the industry,” Davis said. “With manufacturing using roughly one-third of the nation’s energy, the Institute will focus on untapped opportunities in manufacturing performance, next generation information technology and the adoption of advanced technologies to impact energy efficiency.”
In leading the charge for the Institute, the SMLC has brought together nearly 200 partners from across academia, industry and non-profits hailing from more than 30 states across the U.S. including many major corporations. To the SMLC, Smart Manufacturing is the manifestation of converging customer, market and social forces that are changing a century-old mass production manufacturing model. California is well positioned as a nexus point of manufacturing, next generation information technology and progressive energy goals.
The Institute will focus on accelerating the development and adoption of advanced sensors, data analytics, and controls in manufacturing to increase energy efficiency in manufacturing while reducing the cost and time of deploying these technologies by half. In order to make the technology accessible and increase usability for companies, the Institute will use an open-access platform and technology marketplace to integrate advanced sensors, controls, platforms, and modeling technologies into commercial smart manufacturing systems.
“As a co-founder of the coalition, UCLA has been championing and leading the way for smart manufacturing through its research and development efforts via IDRE,” said SMLC Program Manager Julie Tran. She noted that IDRE technologist and computational chemist Prakashan Korambath has been a critical contributor through real-time workflow and platform development efforts in a High Performance Computing cloud environment.
“Smart Manufacturing will enable companies of all sizes to evolve with technology to increase innovation and competitiveness in the United States,” Tran said. “Through providing cutting-edge technology, manufacturers will have affordable and low-risk access to real-time information across the manufacturing enterprise and supply-chain. As a result, the use of information will provide untapped opportunities such as energy reduction, performance optimization and predictive maintenance.”
The Institute will also launch five regional manufacturing centers across the U.S., highly networked in capabilities, resources, technology and experts, each focused on local technology transfer and workforce development. In partnership with the City of Los Angeles, UCLA will lead the California regional center, harnessing the ability to tap the largest manufacturing base in the United States.
“Ultimately, this Institute opportunity brings together partnerships across the nation that will build the critical mass to advance manufacturing, innovation, sustainability and economic development in the United States through Smart Manufacturing,” Tran said.
Learn more about smart manufacturing in this video created by SMLC: