Energy Dept. Selects Five Projects to Spur New Smart-Manufacturing Technology Innovations

The projects will research ways to use smart-manufacturing technologies to improve productivity, precision, performance and energy efficiency.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII) announced selections totaling up to $1 million for five projects to identify ways to use smart-manufacturing technologies to improve productivity, precision, performance and energy efficiency. 

Bolstering domestic manufacturing is a top priority for the Trump Administration. In a report titled, “Strategy for American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing,” the White House calls for new, smart-manufacturing technologies to “facilitate a digital transformation in the manufacturing sector by enabling the application of big data analytics and advanced sensing and control technologies to a host of manufacturing activities.”

This request for proposals (RFP) falls under a new category of CESMII projects called “smart-manufacturing innovation projects.” Selected project teams will create “smart-manufacturing profiles”—a library of reusable information, including models of manufacturing processes and related equipment—that will help achieve CESMII’s energy objectives.

CESMII selected the following projects for negotiations:

  • Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and Rafter Equipment Corporation will create smart-manufacturing profiles for fault detection and predictive diagnostics for manufacturing tubes and pipes. The monitoring system can create reports that show potential areas of failure, recommend responses to maximize uptime and energy efficiency, and identify preventative maintenance needed to minimize unnecessary part replacement and maintenance tasks.
  • Atollogy, South Bay Solutions and North Carolina State University (NCSU) will create smart-manufacturing profiles for Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines to increase operational and energy efficiency for CNC machines at South Bay Solutions. This project presents an opportunity to both improve performance and leverage the data collected to establish a generic CNC Process Profile on the CESMII smart-manufacturing platform. The project team will use cameras and sensors for data collection, advanced machine vision and artificial intelligence edge processing. These advances will lead to better operational planning, scheduling and energy management.
  • Ectron will work with Inova Diagnostics to create smart-manufacturing profiles to improve their enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) process and production efficiencies applicable for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food industries. This project may effectively help measure antibodies, antigens, proteins and glycoproteins in biological samples during the pandemic.
  • Tyson Foods and ThinkIQ will create smart-manufacturing profiles to optimize yield and material utilization on Tyson’s poultry processing equipment, enabling decisions based on real-time constraints in material flows, manufacturing operations, and energy consumption in a protein-based food processing environment. This project will demonstrate increased operational efficiencies that could be extended to other food processing and energy-intensive industries.
  • ECM Performance Materials Corp and Flexware Innovation will create smart-manufacturing profiles to improve throughput, quality and energy efficiency across ECM’s chemical mixing and packing production lines. The project will provide a framework that small-to-medium-sized manufacturers can use to reduce collection, parsing and real-time data storage costs.

CESMII is part of Manufacturing USA, a network of federally funded institutes working to increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and promote a robust and sustainable national manufacturing research and development (R&D) infrastructure. CESMII works with American companies to spur innovations in new, integrated, systematic, “smart” manufacturing processes, including advanced sensors, controls, platforms, and models. CESMII also promotes a highly skilled manufacturing workforce and a strong domestic supply chain.