Opening their doors in major cities all over the world, digital manufacturing hubs provide engineers with access to the resources and advanced technologies they need to drive innovation and solve age-old industrial problems. They’re also providing impressive value for business – creating jobs and attracting an influx of media attention, corporate funding and partnership opportunities to the municipalities that host them.
Here are some notable digital manufacturing hubs that are helping to revitalize their local communities:
The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (Chicago)
In May 2015, the hotly anticipated Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute opened its nearly 100,000-square-foot facility in the heart of Chicago at Goose Island. Once a bustling industrialization hub in the 19th century, the area had been all but deserted by most businesses for decades, making the new facility a vital shot in the arm for the local economy.
“With this, Chicago becomes the epicenter of advanced manufacturing,” Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel proclaimed at the grand opening. “Competitiveness of manufacturing [is] key to our long-term prosperity.”
A $320-million partnership between the public and private sector, DMDI hopes to take manufacturing full-scale digital. With support from the U.S. Department of Defense, university partners and corporate sponsors, engineers at DMDI are working on a range of initiatives, including advanced analysis and collection of manufacturing and design data, intelligent machining that integrates smart sensors and controls into the production environment and advanced manufacturing enterprises that more seamlessly aggregate data throughout the supply chain.
The American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (Detroit)
One of four institutes announced in a special manufacturing initiative by the White House, ALMMI is a 99,000-square-foot facility located in the Corktown neighborhood of downtown Detroit.
Over $148million was invested in the institute, by a combination of the US Department of Defense, University of Michigan, Ohio State University and others. Since opening in early 2015, engineers at ALMMI have been experimenting with the design of lightweight metals, in hopes of introducing them into commercial and military aircraft and vehicles.
Not only will the new facility potentially bring in lighter, more cost effective solutions to military transportation, but it will also create around 10,000 metalworking, machining and casting jobs in a city that has seen terrible economic hardship in recent years.
The Orthopaedic Innovation Center (Winnipeg)
The Orthopaedic Innovation Center (OIC) of Winnipeg, Canada, is a non-profit corporation that focuses on the commercialization of orthopaedic technologies through strategic collaboration with education institutions and manufacturers.
In March 2015, the Canadian government announced that it was dedicating $5million to support the development of an Advanced Digital Manufacturing Hub at the OIC. The federal grant provided new additive manufacturing equipment to aid aide in the testing, development, precision measurement, and fabrication of advanced orthopaedic materials and technologies.
In addition to receiving government funding, the project spawned a partnership with global additive manufacturers Stratasys, who are in the process of opening their first Canadian plant in conjunction with the project, potentially bringing a host of jobs to the region and helping to strengthen Canada’s position as a global leader in manufacturing and digital design.
Do you live in an area that’s benefited from heavy investment in manufacturing hubs and institutes? Share your experiences in the comments section below.