SCRA-managed institute launches digital manufacturing lab

Staff Report
Published Feb. 26, 2014

SCRA Applied R&D will be consortia manager of the new Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute in Chicago.

The Institute received $70 million from the federal government to establish the Digital Lab for Manufacturing, President Barack Obama announced at a press conference Tuesday.

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Headquartered in Chicago, the Digital Lab will be connected to a network of manufacturing research sites across the United States. It will be used to reduce the time and cost of manufacturing, strengthen the nation’s supply chain and reduce Department of Defense acquisition costs.

The Digital Lab is led by UI Labs, a Chicago-based research and commercialization collaborative. UI Labs also secured an additional $250 million from industry, university, government and community partners to form the $320 million Digital Lab.

The Digital Lab will focus on analysis, machining and an advanced manufacturing enterprise that will incorporate “agile and robust manufacturing strategies and integrated capabilities that dramatically reduce the cost and time of producing complex system parts,” according to a news release.

The lab will apply mobile, cloud and computing technologies to help solve manufacturing challenges the private sector and Department of Defense face.

It will also use Digital Manufacturing Commons, an open-source online software platform that connects online networks of people, manufacturing machines and factories. This will enable real-time collaboration and analysis of big data during the design and manufacturing processes.

“This award continues to emphasize the rising national profile of SCRA in terms of our collaboration management expertise and our recognized ability to bring together disparate partners and effectively deliver operational new technologies,” SCRA Applied R&D President Chris Van Metre said in a statement.

“We look forward to working with the industry, government and academic partners to solve manufacturing challenges and strengthen our manufacturing base.”

SCRA is an applied research corporation that provides technology products to federal and corporate clients.

SCRA has three sectors: a technology ventures sector to help early-stage companies commercialize innovations and create jobs; an applied research and development sector to manage national and international programs worth over $2 billion in contract value; and a research and development facilities sector that builds and manages research facilities.

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