Many U.S. manufacturing operations operate with a constricted decision making process. New information technologies have been applied to optimize individual unit processes in factories, but Smart Manufacturing (“SM”) systems that integrate manufacturing intelligence in real-time across an entire production operation are rare in large companies, and virtually non-existent in small and medium size organizations.
SMLC was founded to overcome the costs and risks associated with commercialization of Smart Manufacturing (SM) systems. SMLC has developed an implementation agenda for building comprehensive, scaled infrastructure to support commercialization of SM systems, including a prototype platform suitable for use in test bed trials of SM systems.
The 2010 workshop on Implementing 21st Century Smart Manufacturing identified and prioritized the actions needed to overcome critical challenges to making smart manufacturing widely accessible. Based on an NSF-funded study, the workshop tapped the expertise and insights of 75 experts from a diverse cross-section of industry, government, academia, and the national laboratories. SMLC agreed that “the next step change in U.S. manufacturing productivity would come from a broader use of modeling and simulation technology throughout the manufacturing process”.
The resulting report has generated a great deal of attention, especially since the Obama Administration announced a $500 million initiative on advanced manufacturing. SMLC has taken a number of actions to address the recommendations in the 2010 workshop and respond to the new Administration initiative.
These efforts involve significant partnerships among the SMLC companies, universities and manufacturing consortia in planning the necessary test beds, coordinating infrastructure requirements, organizing the applied R&D on the technology and building a community platform.
SMLC officially incorporated as a non-profit organization on July 31, 2012.