(530a) Industry-Academic-Government Test Bed/Innovation Centers On Smart Process Manufacturing

Authors: 
Davis, J., UCLA
Edgar, T. F., Dept. of Chem. Eng.,The University of Texas at Austin


Smart Process Manufacturing (SPM) is a dramatically intensified knowledge-enabled industrial enterprise in which ALL business and operating actions are executed to achieve substantially enhanced energy, sustainability, environmental, safety and economic performance. When SPM is applied comprehensively in terms of technology, methodology, operational assimilation and elevation to company and industry enterprises, it becomes a disruptive / breakthrough use of IT and knowledge. We can project 30 ? 50% reductions in gas, oil, power consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and more than 10% greater production capacity. Additionally, smart manufacturing increases its global economic potential through greater agility toward product customization and there are new allied industries for applying smart manufacturing technologies

The process manufacturing industry is currently in a state of uncertainty, an environment of scarce resources, a perfect storm of suboptimal workforce capacity and capability, and a situation of acute investment timidity and risk, such that only incremental steps can be supported if at all. This is superimposed on a situation in which the US manufacturing sector has been declining. To reverse this decline there is a need to define next generation manufacturing, develop economic growth, address sustainability, and accelerate adoption.

SPM is the development and comprehensive integration of multiple knowledge-intensive technologies and operating strategies and the assimilation of these not only at a plant site, but at enterprise (multi plant) and regional (multi-company) levels. Sustainability, energy, supply chain and environmental performance need and can be solved together. There is great value in the near term piecemeal adoption of SPM technologies through shovel-ready projects, but next generation manufacturing will require development of new technologies and their comprehensive integration substantially changing the current modus operandi for manufacturing.

The challenge of this game-changing transformation for energy-intensive industrial sectors is enormous. There is the natural desire to do numerous lower risk incremental changes versus a large, higher risk step-change. The lack of a few proven models (test beds) showing how it works to lower risk and the fact that almost no single manufacturer is vertically or horizontally integrated enough today to do this by themselves are significant barriers. Additionally, no single company today can dictate "standards" to enable multi-vendor, multi-plant, multi supply chain interconnectedness. There is, therefore, a need for a comprehensive manufacturing strategy to coalesce these industrial companies, universities and government agencies to foster synergistic action, find the intersecting values, focus and stimulate investments in applied research on real-world problems and address barriers of risk and incentives.

Public-private test bed/innovation smart manufacturing centers are the preferred vehicles for a comprehensive strategy. Public-private partnership investment in smart manufacturing centers can accelerate development and demonstration, reduce investment uncertainty, provide the vehicle to share risk and produce commonly used, non-competitive approaches and technologies that raise the bar across industry segments. Government itself has a vested interest in providing incentives to address sustainability and energy and to support the manufacturing sector for the US.

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