I met John Dyck, an old friend from a couple of manufacturing software suppliers and former chair of MESA International, for lunch before Christmas to catch up on what’s happening at his latest gig—CEO of CESMII-The Smart Manufacturing Institute.

The leadership of the organization includes a few people I knew when I was following the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition several years ago. Primarily Jim Davis of UCLA who remains a leader and driving force for smart manufacturing in the US. (See this post, for example.)

Germany may have kicked off government-sponsored research for advanced manufacturing with Industrie 4.0, with China following, and then many others. CESMII along with several sister institutes embodies the US effort to promote smart manufacturing here.

I was aware of the formation of this and other institutes. In the ensuing couple of years, much has happened. John caught me up on progress, and I think you’ll see several progress updates here during 2020.

Following is some background and recent news from the Institute. It labels itself a Network of Networks. “CESMII is about transformation, made possible by collaboration. At our very essence is bringing together individuals, organizations and technologies to create one greater good.”

The term Smart Manufacturing (SM) seems to have caught on in the US as a label for the technologies and strategies involving the digital transformation. Some organizations such as MESA International and SME have embraced it, for example. According to CESMII, “Smart Manufacturing enables all information about the manufacturing process to be available when it is needed, where it is needed, and in the form it is needed across the entire manufacturing value-chain to power smart decisions. Islands of efficiency become interoperable, networked, and resilient solutions to drive transformational manufacturing enterprise performance for any size, level of technical sophistication, or resource availability at lower cost.”

Further, “Smart Manufacturing unlocks real-time data currently inaccessible or unused through new technology tools that realize benefits faster across the manufacturing enterprise.”

In recent news, CESMII announced plans to formally launch an Affinity Group focused on the needs of small-to-medium sized manufacturing enterprises (SMEs). This announcement is a continuation of the institute’s efforts to engage and empower smaller manufacturers, further demonstrated by CESMII’s previous commitment to make institute-directed project funds available in 2020 to small-to-medium enterprises, as appropriate.

CESMII CEO, John Dyck, said of the announcement, “CESMII’s first order of business is to democratize Smart Manufacturing, making it available to companies of all sizes. Small-to-medium manufacturers represent the overwhelming majority of manufacturing companies in the U.S., and it’s critically important we hear their voice and rise to their challenges. The new SME Affinity Group we’re launching and the potential funding we’re willing to allocate show how important we believe smaller manufacturers are to the revitalization of U.S. manufacturing and the strength of our nation.”

A CESMII Affinity Group is a group of members from the CESMII membership base that has an interest in a particular manufacturing sector or problem and works collaboratively to share experiences, perspectives and best practices. Affinity Groups are charged with examining a manufacturing sector or problem strategically, and its members bring their unique abilities, capabilities, and interests to engage the CESMII ecosystem, as needed or desired. Further, Affinity Groups formulate the proper approach to the manufacturing sector or problem for the application of Smart Manufacturing (SM) technologies or Education & Workforce Development (EWD) deliverables. There is no guarantee of CESMII project funds being allocated to any Affinity Group, but input from these groups provides direction for the Institute’s strategies and priorities.

Mr. Dyck continued, “CESMII has the mandate and the ability to empower smaller manufacturers to compete as 21st-century leaders. We are willing to launch a focused Affinity Group for small-to-medium manufacturers to show that we’re here for these companies and believe in them. We’re even willing to apportion a percentage of our project funding to support their needs. But, we need them to engage and lend their voice to shape our plans. We won’t release funds without well thought-out plans we expect will deliver value. We encourage all small-to-medium size manufacturers to come and be a part of our Smart Manufacturing ecosystem.”

About CESMII

CESMII is the United States’ national institute on Smart Manufacturing, driving cultural and technological transformation and secure industrial solutions as national imperatives. By enabling frictionless movement of information – raw and contextualized data – between real-time Operations and the people and systems that create value in and across Manufacturing organizations, CESMII is ensuring the power of information and innovation is at the fingertips of everyone who touches manufacturing.

The Institute is accelerating Smart Manufacturing (SM) adoption through the integration of advanced sensors, data (ingestion – contextualization – modeling – analytics), platforms and controls to radically impact manufacturing performance, through measurable improvements in areas such as: Quality, throughput, costs/profitability, safety, asset reliability and energy productivity. CESMII’s program and administrative home is with the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office.

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