By Paul Gorski
This article is in response to the news story “Rockford Areal Economic Development Council’s annual meeting highlights tech revolution,” posted online Nov. 20 (http://rockrivertimes.com/2014/11/20/rockford-area-economic-development-councils-annual-meeting-highlights-tech-revolution/.)
As noted in the article cited above, the guest speaker at the Rockford Area Economic Development Council’s (RAEDC) recent annual meeting was the executive director of the new Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) being built in Chicago.
Expanding on the speaker’s comments, the DMDII was commissioned by the United States Department of Defense to “establish and integrate processes that sustain and enhance retention of supply chain knowledge and improve capacity and capability of both the organic and commercial industrial bases to affordably produce low volume, varying demand, complex systems for the DoD in support of national security.” Quote from http://www.manufacturing.gov/docs/DMDI_overview.pdf.
Essentially, work to improve our engineering and manufacturing processes to support our military complex and, it is hoped, other businesses.
This is big. Forty-one companies, 23 universities, and nine other organizations are pooling talent and millions of dollars to make this happen. (See http://www.industryweek.com/innovation/chicago-new-home-digital-manufacturing-and-design-innovation-institute.)
A primary goal of the DMDII is “raise the global competiveness of U.S. small and medium sized manufacturers by smart and comprehensive use of the ‘digital thread’ throughout design, production and support, thereby erasing any competitive advantage from low cost, low skill labor.” Many manufacturing companies could benefit too as the “results will be applicable to nearly every manufacturing industry sector and are expected to decrease costs by roughly 10 percent across the manufacturing enterprise — not simply for one technology or manufacturing process.” Quoted again from http://www.manufacturing.gov/docs/DMDI_overview.pdf.
Small and medium-sized manufacturers, hey, that’s us! We really need to pay attention to the DMDII going forward, as it could be as important to our region as RAEDC hopes it to be.
Paul Gorski (email@example.com) is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper.
Posted Nov. 25, 2014