Project 3. The Colorado Digital Manufacturing Commons Planning

The Internet of Things (IoT) has fundamentally changed the way business is done. Manufacturers serving the aerospace and defense industries cannot avoid the radical transformation that is impacting industry today.

Some manufacturers have not only recognized this, but they have embraced it and given it a name: Digital Manufacturing. As an example, advancements in enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suites which coordinate seamlessly with manufacturing execution systems (MES) are allowing manufacturers to increase time to market by reducing cycle-time.   Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) tools are increasing speed to market by allowing manufacturers the ability to create computer models for simulation and testing of products in lieu of timely prototypes. Such virtualization technology allows a company to model the entire production process, optimizing the layout of a factory, identifying and automatically correcting flaws in each step of the production process, and allowing for faster time from construction to production.

Clearly, technological advancements are a significant catalyst to the ongoing manufacturing renaissance and the strong productivity gains for American manufacturers. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers are benefiting from this manufacturing renaissance. Project 3 is about advancing manufacturers through the creation of a tool and training platform that will educate Colorado small and medium size manufacturers (SMEs) on the benefits of Digital Manufacturing.

In order to ensure that SMEs adopt emerging technologies, it is critical for a systematic outreach to highlight and identify needs, benefits and business development opportunities. As such FourFront will host information sessions on digital manufacturing that are geared towards SMEs and will also develop a working group to highlight benefits and needs.The first of the three education programs was held during Northern Colorado’s NOCOM 2015 Manufacturing Trade Show and was a huge success.

Additionally, this working group will participate in a Beta Test of the Digital Manufacturing Commons (DMC). The DMC aims to enable digital collaboration among distributed teams, to reduce the barriers for securely sharing data and digital information, and to connect people and data with digital analysis tools. The DMC platform will enable increased efficiency during the product development process, and will support distributed teams working on common system engineering projects.

CAMA has also been invited to develop a proposal to join the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) in Chicago and demonstrate how to expose, align, enable and improve our manufacturers, so they can lead the digital manufacturing revolution across the country. CAMA is working with various state stakeholders to create an unsolicited proposal for the outreach, education and training of Colorado manufacturers on the digital technologies and tools emerging from DMDII.

The working group has been created and is known as the Digital Manufacturing Task Force. Such Task Force utilizes the existing supply chain of Wolf Robotics: Lockheed Martin Colorado, Karcher North America, and Springs Fabrication. In February 2015, this Task Force identified a real-life project across Wolf’s supply chain in order to (i) test the utilization of digital manufacturing upstream and downstream, (ii) identify ROI (before and after utilization of digital manufacturing) and (iii) use such case study to educate SMEs on the benefits of digital manufacturing and more importantly how they can utilize such technologies to achieve similar results. This Task Force will also include university partners such as CU and CSU.

In order to re-engage with DMDII leadership, CAMA attended a DMDII meeting in Atlanta and is working with DMDII on SME outreach using Colorado’s Task Force and potential creation of Colorado hub for access and outreach. CAMA spoke at CU’s digital manufacturing event on March 13 regarding such SME outreach and need.

Accomplishments:

  • Created Digital Manufacturing Task Force
  • Created DMDII unsolicited grant proposal
  • Held First Digital Manufacturing Seminar