Rensselaer Will Lead Northeast Regional Manufacturing Center

Troy, N.Y. — During the third annual SelectUSA Summit in Washington, D.C., held on June 20, before an audience of business leaders, economic development officials, and investors from around the world, United States President Barack Obama announced that the the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC), will lead the new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE). 

The winning coalition, headquartered in Los Angeles, California, brings together a consortium of nearly 200 partners from more than 30 states—and from across academia, including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), industry, and nonprofits—to spur advances in smart sensors and digital process controls that can radically improve the efficiency of U.S. advanced manufacturing.

The Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, the ninth manufacturing hub awarded by the Obama Administration, will focus on innovations such as smart sensors that can dramatically reduce energy expenses in advanced manufacturing, making our manufacturing sector strong today and positioning the United States to lead the manufacturing of tomorrow, helping sustain the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing currently underway. 

Headquartered in Los Angeles, the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute also will launch five regional manufacturing centers across the United States, each focused on local technology transfer and workforce development. UCLA will lead the California regional center, in partnership with the city of Los Angeles. Texas A&M University will lead the Gulf Coast center. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will lead a hub in the Northwest, and NC State will spearhead a regional hub for the Southeast. 

Rensselaer will be responsible for administering the Northeast Regional Manufacturing Center (RMC) of the DOE Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII), involving regional partners from industry, academia, and government. Overall, the CESMII partners will bring more than $140 million in public-private investment from industry and acedemia to develop smart technologies and systems for use in advanced manufacturing. 

Craig Dory, who currently serves as director for business development in the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS) at Rensselaer, will serve as the Northeast Regional Director for CESMII. Modeling, design, and controls expert B.Wayne Bequette, professor of chemical and biological engineering, will serve 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 one of the the world’s fastest and most powerful supercomputers, and the Center for Future Energy Systems (CFES). 

Key industrial partners in the CESMII Northeast Regional Manufacturing Center include: GLOBALFOUNDRIES, United Technologies, Corning Glass, Saint-Gobain, Praxair, Pfizer, EWI, 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 Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) programs in each state will work to ensure outreach, training, and support. Several testbeds are planned, including a semiconductor device manufacturing testbed located at the Manufacturing Technology Education Center (MTEC) in Saratoga County, N.Y. 

CESMII programs will include a wide range of projects, across manufacturing sectors and business sizes, including implementation of the Smart Manufacturing Platform, mathematical modeling and data analytics, and developing and implementing advanced automation and control algorithms. 

Some of the CESMII partners measured goals include: doubling the energy productivity in U.S. manufacturing every 10 years, reducing the cost of deploying smart manufacturing (SM) systems relative to state-of-the-art systems in five years, increasing the SM workforce in the U.S. multifold in 10 years, doubling the SM supply chain rate of increase in value and participation, and reducing U.S. energy use in 10 years while increasing manufacturing competitiveness. 

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