Smart manufacturing promises the ability to do more with less, to manufacture high quality products faster, better, and cheaper, and to revolutionize the manufacturing industry through the use and coordination of information, automation, computation, software, sensing, and networking. However, it is yet to be deployed at scale, especially in small and medium manufacturing enterprises, which comprise 80% of the US manufacturing sector.
Chinedum Okwudire, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Miller Faculty Scholar, was selected to serve on a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) ad-hoc committee formed to develop options for a national plan for smart manufacturing technology development and deployment. The final report by the committee will examine technical frameworks and processes, identify possible timelines and necessary resources, and explore policies and general roles for government, industry, and academia to address near-, medium-, and long-term challenges to improving the productivity and energy efficiency of the manufacturing sector in the United States and to ensure U.S. competitiveness.
Particular focus will be given to system integration issues, including incorporating manufacturing science, materials science, energy science, and other critical domains. “One important angle of cheaper manufacturing that we will examine in this committee is how to improve the energy efficiency of manufacturing, which is critical due to the high energy intensity of manufacturing,” said Dr. Okwudire.
To gather information and engage the manufacturing community, the committee will plan and organize three workshops on state-of-the-art smart manufacturing and future directions, potential broader impacts of smart manufacturing, and education, training, and workforce needs for smart manufacturing.
Speaking about his selection for the committee, Dr. Okwudire told us, “The area of smart manufacturing is one that Michigan is particularly well equipped to advance. Therefore, I am delighted that we are part of the conversation. I think we can combine our technical strengths in smart manufacturing technologies with our people-first engineering ethos to help shape the future of smart manufacturing in the US and beyond.”
To read the full committee member list, click here.