(287d) Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition Launches $10 Million DOE Project to Develop Open Smart Manufacturing Platform for Collaborative Networked Industrial Information Applications

Edgar, T. F., McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

The Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC) has launched a 2013 Clean Energy Manufacturing contract to develop the nation’s first open smart manufacturing technology platform for collaborative industrial networked information applications. The innovative $10 million project, led by the SMLC, will receive $7.8 million in funding from the U.S. Dept. of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Program. The project is motivated by a vision to transform industrial productivity and energize a new era of innovation by empowering manufacturers with real-time, plant-wide workflow intelligence needed to deliver higher levels of game-changing competitiveness. Smart Manufacturing infrastructures and approaches will also let operators make real-time use of ‘big data’ flows from fully-instrumented plants to improve safety, environmental impact and energy, water and materials use.

The specific objectives of this particular SMLC project are to design and demonstrate this common platform that enables data modeling and simulation technologies to actively manage energy use in conjunction with plant production systems.  The platform will show how real-time management of energy use as a key driver in business decisions can be applied across many small, medium and large U.S. manufacturing companies. For the past two decades, most U.S. manufacturers have managed energy efficiency in their factories and plants passively instead of actively as part of their production systems. Research at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy which is also a coalition board member estimates that it is possible to reduce U.S. manufacturing energy intensity by more than half in the next 20 years as we begin to integrate smart technologies that actively manage energy use across entire manufacturing systems, plants and ultimately supply chains.

The SMLC’s Platform development approach uses industrial test beds with actual manufacturing data and applications to ensure it is driven by industry needs.  The first two test beds funded by the DOE Clean Energy Manufacturing contract will be at a General Dynamics Army Munitions plant to optimize production lines comprised of heat treating furnaces and CNC machines and at a Praxair Hydrogen Processing plant to optimize steam methane reforming furnaces.

With direction from the full membership of the SMLC, this project is a significant collaborative effort among Emerson Process Management, Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions, Invensys and Rockwell Automation to ensure the Smart Manufacturing Platform is compatible with multiple process control software systems and energy applications “Apps.”  The American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences will develop standard metrics for energy productivity “Apps” and promote platform use to small, medium and large manufacturers.  Developments with sensors, metrology, modeling, and control for the two test beds will be led by the University of Texas at Austin. The industry-driven, open platform architecture, orchestrated workflows and operating design will be developed by UCLA’s Institute for Digital Research and Education (IDRE) and Nimbis Services, a new U.S.-based business to business cloud hosting services company for manufacturing.