Siemens is among six top-tier project partners -- alongside General Electric, Rolls-Royce, Procter & Gamble, Dow, and Lockheed Martin -- that have donated at least $5 million to the project and will participate as key contributors to the digital manufacturing lab, which will be located in Chicago. The effort is also supported by 40 industry partners and more than 30 organizations from academia, the government, and broader community. All told, partners have contributed $250 million more in seed money on top of the government's $70 million.
Grindstaff said the lab will be modeled after research institutions like the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, which conducts research and develops processes and technology, and then looks for commercial partners to take them to market.
Specifically, Siemens is contributing its product lifecycle management (PLM) software to the lab. The software is used globally by the manufacturing industry to design, develop, and manufacture products in a number of industries, including automotive, aerospace, consumer products, medical devices, shipbuilding, apparel, and machinery.
The new Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute also will bring together a consortium of institutions and led by a key actor in the industry, Detroit-based EWI, a manufacturing consulting organization. The goal of the institute is to facilitate research in the development of lightweight metals in the production process and to make their use more cost effective and feasible. Lighter-weight metals increasingly are being used to replace heavier, more traditional metals in the production process, but their use is still expensive and not commercially viable for all industries.
The White House is also now taking bids on proposals from organizations to form a third institute for research in composite materials. The Department of Energy will offer $70 million in funding to create the institute, which will seek strategies to overcome current barriers to using advanced composites in a number of industries.
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