In a speech given at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh on June 24, President Obama announced the launch of the $500M Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) between university research science, government agencies, and industry to increase investment in technologies that create 21st Century manufacturing jobs here in the United States. In addition to Carnegie Mellon, the research institutions involved in the initiative are: the University of Michigan, the University of California-Berkeley, MIT, Stanford, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The AMP supports research and business development by investing in technologies -- such as information technology, biotechnology, robotics and nanotechnology -- that will help U.S. manufacturers reduce costs, improve quality, and accelerate product development. The goal is not only to create jobs but to optimize processes in such a way that small and medium-sized businesses get up to speed more quickly and are positioned to compete successfully in the global marketplace.
The University of Michigan is especially pleased about its role in the partnership. According to UM President Mary Sue Coleman:
"This initiative matters more to Michigan than any other state. We are at ground zero for losses in manufacturing jobs. But we are also better positioned to be the epicenter of manufacturing innovation. We know how to retool."
(Photo of Dr. Coleman courtesy of U-Michigan)
U-Michigan has a strong history of industry collaboration, both for marketing its research technology and lending its expertise to insure high quality standards for manufacturing. For example, the UM College of Engineering has productively partnered with GM at its Brownsville plant to help them produce the high-tech batteries for their electric Chevrolet Volt. The vehicle represents a modern departure for the auto giant, and the plant required advanced manufacturing technologies, such as the custom system developed with UM engineers that monitors the critical welding on the Volt under process conditions. GM is not currently part of the AMP, but Ford Motors is, suggesting that they will be tapping UM's engineers for fine-tuning their plant operations as well.
Another major Midwestern company involved in the AMP is Procter & Gamble (headquartered in Cincinnati), which will donate advanced MS&A software to small and medium-sized companies that would normally not normally have access to those resources. The new entity responsible for this outreach will be the Midwest Modeling and Simulation Consortium. Taking credit for pressing the importance of making available these optimization tools as a part of the AMP is the Council on Competitiveness, a public policy group made up of "CEOs, university presidents and labor leaders working to ensure U.S. prosperity," according to their website, compete.org.
Last fall compete convened a summit and workshop at the University of Chicago, out of which came the published document: A Framework for a Regional Modeling, Simulation and Analysis Midwest Pilot Program for the Manufacturing Supply Chain, a prescription for something much like the Midwest M & S Consortium that is part of the President's new program. Procter & Gamble's contribution of MS&A software, plus the guidance of academic and industry experts in its value and use, will enable small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME's) in the Midwest to hone their product manufacturing skills with the same tools used by Fortune 500 companies.
This "renaissance in American manufacturing" the President envisions as a result of the AMP initiative will have these components, according to the White House press release:
Building domestic manufacturing capabilities in critical national security industries
Reducing the time to develop and deploy advanced materials
Investing in next-generation robotics
Developing innovative energy-efficient manufacturing processes
See tomorrow's blog for more news from the University of Michigan School of Engineering. Then look out for a blog duet on robotics at the University of Minnesota and MIT.
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