Lawrence Livermore, RPI partner to promote industry adoption of supercomputing
DOE awards nearly $55M to advance fuel efficient vehicle technologies in support of EV Everywhere and SuperTruck

DOE announces $70M for Innovation Institute on Smart Manufacturing; advanced sensors, controls, platforms, and modeling for manufacturing

The US Department of Energy announced up to $70 million in funding (DE-FOA-0001263) for the next Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which will be focused on smart manufacturing. With this investment, the DOE aims to support research and development advancements that can reduce the cost of deployment for technologies such as advanced sensors, controls, platforms, and modeling for manufacturing by as much as 50%. As part of President Obama’s National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) institutes, the institute will also demonstrate these technologies in manufacturing processes with a goal to increase energy efficiency by at least 15% and improve energy productivity by at least 50%.

Energy intensive industries, such as steelmaking, could see a 10 to 20 percent reduction in the cost of production, making products such as solar panels and chemical materials, such as plastics, as well as the cars and other products they go into, more affordable for American consumers,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. The goals of the Smart Manufacturing Institute are to:

  • Lead a national effort to develop, test, and widely deploy to industry Smart Manufacturing technologies and solutions for energy intensive/dependent and clean energy and energy efficient product manufacturing with an Institute membership that includes initial members as well as new members that were not part of the Institute application;

  • Support a Smart Manufacturing-related shared RD&D infrastructure that enables affordable access to cutting-edge physical and virtual tools as well as expertise to reduce the cost and risk of commercialization, address technical challenges that may arise from scale-up and production at a manufacturing-relevant scale, and provide data to enable business case development. This infrastructure leverages relevant existing private and public sector resources and facilities such as industry laboratories, university centers, national laboratories, and other government investments;

  • Provide capabilities for and collaboration in open, pre-competitive work among multiple parties including the collaboration around the development of open architecture, open standard and open source software platforms and tools in an Intellectual Property (IP) protected environment, as well as proprietary activities as appropriate, to engage stakeholders as relevant to the Smart Manufacturing technology area;

  • Be a financially self-sustaining, world-leading innovation hub that brings together private and public entities to co-invest in the development and deployment of innovative Smart Manufacturing technologies;

  • Establish a technical education and workforce development program to support technical and career education that will leverage relevant existing resources to develop the Smart Manufacturing workforce needed to develop new Smart Manufacturing technologies and solutions and deploy these solutions widely within US industry; and

  • Define and implement clear operating structures and strategies for participation by a wide range of stakeholders in the Institute and, in particular, to engage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), minority-owned businesses, and women-owned businesses through outreach and intermediaries, including programs like the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) where appropriate, and provide sufficient financial and contractual mechanisms for collaboration with all stakeholders along the supply chain, including end-users, to allow them to benefit from the Institute resources.

Background. The Innovation Institute on Smart Manufacturing will be the third Energy Department-funded facility as part of President Obama’s National Network of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (NNMI). Each manufacturing institute is a private-public partnership that serves as a regional hub, bridging the gap between applied research and product development by bringing together federal agencies, companies, universities and other academic and training institutions to co-invest in key technology areas that encourage investment and production in the US. The federal investment of up to $70 million will be matched by private investments and represents a critical step in the Administration’s effort to double US energy efficiency by 2030.

The manufacturing sector converts raw materials, components, and parts into finished goods that meet market needs and expectations. The sector provides about 12% of US Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employs more than 12 million Americans, and is critical to future US global economic competitiveness. Technology‐based productivity improvements have consistently driven job growth over time across the economy. The manufacturing sector develops and produces many of the technologies that advance the competitiveness and growth of the entire economy, including the service sector; every dollar spent in manufacturing generates $1.35 in additional economic activity. Advanced manufacturing is that segment of the manufacturing sector where technology provides a competitive advantage.

The DOE mission in clean energy manufacturing involves the minimization of the energy and environmental impacts of the production, use, and disposal of manufactured goods, which range from fundamental commodities such as metals and chemicals to sophisticated final-use products such as automobiles and wind turbines. The manufacturing sector, a subset of the industrial sector, consumes 24 quads of primary energy annually in the United States—about 79% of total industrial energy use. DOE partners with private and public stakeholders to support the development and deployment of innovative technologies that can improve US competitiveness, save energy, and ensure global leadership in advanced manufacturing and clean energy technologies.

DOE launched the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI) to strengthen clean energy manufacturing competitiveness by boosting energy productivity and leveraging low-cost domestic energy resources as fuels and feedstocks. Within CEMI, DOE uses Manufacturing Innovation Institutes to develop energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in areas where an industrial consortium for research, development and demonstration has been determined through public engagement, requests for information and analysis to have high potential to address a significant and potentially impactful advanced manufacturing opportunity. To date, DOE has established two Manufacturing Innovation Institutes.

  • PowerAmerica is focused on wide bandgap semiconductor technologies for next generation power electronics.

  • The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, is focused on composite manufacturing technologies for vehicles, wind turbine blades, and compressed gas storage tanks.

These DOE-led Institutes are participants in the broader National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The opportunity to be addressed in the new $70-million FOA is the research, development and demonstration of Smart Manufacturing technology to enable cost effective information and communication technologies for the real-time management and control of energy in manufacturing across the unit-process, facility, enterprise, and supply chain.

Energy costs and impacts have the potential to be actively managed and controlled as a resource for an organization rather than treated as a fixed cost. Energy management currently includes protocols for continual improvement of energy productivity and efficiency that are integrated within manufacturing practices at the facility or process level. Smart Manufacturing seeks the development of effective energy management technology tools to achieve energy and cost savings through informed decision making and the implementation of energy saving practices for facilities, processes, equipment, and operations, both in real time and over the life-cycle of products from a manufacturing unit-process, facility, enterprise and supply chain.

An Energy Management System (EnMS) at the facility level is a current best practice for manufacturers to manage electricity. While many facilities have some form of EnMS, the International Organization for Standardization has recently developed ISO 50001-2011 to provide organizations a standard process to incorporate energy considerations and energy management into daily operations as part of an organizational strategy for improving energy performance.

The ISO 50001 standard represents the state of the art in EnMS through its processes and systems to establish and implement a continual Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) improvement system for managing energy and achieving energy performance improvements. While continual process improvement protocols are effective frameworks for managing energy in manufacturing, there is now a need for physical and computational platforms for cost-effectively implementing energy management in real-time across a diversity of manufacturing environments as a replicable and scalable technology across processes, facilities, enterprises and supply-chains. Addressing the needs for the research, development and demonstration of these physical and computational platforms is a motivation for this Smart Manufacturing FOA.

Industry experts estimate that investments in Smart Manufacturing technologies could generate cost savings and new revenues that add up to $10-15 trillion to global gross domestic product over the next 20 years. Smart Manufacturing was recently identified by the White House’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 (AMP 2.0) as one of the highest priority manufacturing technology areas in need of Federal investment.

Smart Manufacturing encompasses machine-to-plant-to-enterprise-to-supply-chain aspects of advanced sensing and instrumentation; real-time process monitoring, control, and optimization; advanced hardware and advanced software platforms; and predictive modeling and simulation technologies for industrial automation networked for enterprise and ecosystem optimization. When aligned with business models and communication networks, the use of Smart Manufacturing technologies can improve manufacturing efficiency through the real-time management of energy, productivity and costs at the level of the machine, factory and enterprise, including improved integration with the electric grid.

Technical Topic Areas. Of particular interest for this Institute is the research, development and widespread industrial adoption of technologies and solutions that can capture, share, and process in real-time the increasing amounts of information that, by enabling dramatically improved process control and operation, will enable benefits such as improved energy efficiency; equipment reliability; productivity gains; as well as related improvements in safety, quality, and yield in manufacturing processes. The benefits should be realized in manufacturing processes across all industries regardless of the type of processes used (e.g. discrete, batch, or continuous).

The Smart Manufacturing Institute is expected to focus primarily on the following key technology topic areas:

  • Develop and Standardize Open Software and Communication Platforms. Open standards and interoperability for manufacturing devices, systems, and services was noted as a key gap for Smart Manufacturing in the AMP 2.0 report and the DOE Quadrennial Technology Review. New methods are needed to design and build platform infrastructures that integrate computing and communication capabilities together with the sensing and actuation functions of components. Open-architecture, open-standard, and open-source (when possible) software and communication platforms can enable plug-and-play connectivity to ease integration and customization across energy related Smart Manufacturing components, different manufacturing requirements, and the latest Information Technology (IT) hardware and standards. New platforms based on interoperable technologies must also ensure that a holistic approach to cyber security is met at a low implementation cost.

  • Develop Advanced Sensors. Advanced sensors are needed throughout manufacturing to enable improved process control. Especially for energy-intensive industries with harsh operating environments, the advanced sensors needed to monitor each stage of manufacturing will be subject to requirements of packaging for survivability, accuracy, low power consumption, connectivity (e.g., wireless communication), and very low installation and maintenance cost. More broadly, the Institute is expected to develop advanced new plug-and-play sensors with embedded knowledge that makes them smarter and easier to integrate into wired/wireless sensor networks employed in manufacturing. Additionally, the Institute is expected to develop reliable sensor systems that can measure across many length scales at high bandwidth enabling combined sensor fusion for advanced real-time energy management and process control methodologies.

  • Develop Improved Real-Time Data Analytics and Control Systems. A single sensor used at a particular stage of manufacturing in isolation, while useful for the unit process, is typically inadequate to provide the information needed to effectively manage and optimize an overall manufacturing process within a plant and across the supply chain. While multiple sensors provide more information, too many sensors and too much data can overwhelm the ability to use this information to make appropriate and timely energy and process optimization decisions for real-time control systems.

    The Institute is expected to focus on exploiting data collected from large-scale distributed sensor networks to provide near real-time situational awareness of the factory, including identification of process abnormalities, and to enable suitable automated responses. Advanced data compression techniques and the development of low cost automated control approaches using model-predictive control are key opportunity areas for the Institute as well. As a key element of improved control systems and data-analytics, the sensor analytics developed, tested, and deployed to industry by the Institute must be interoperable, not only with different sensor types but also with backward capability to existing sensors, while forward looking to incorporate a systems-level holistic approach to cyber security.

    The technology needs to improve control systems and data analytics include: 1) algorithms for prediction, control, and performance optimization; 2) control strategies to enable the use of pervasive low cost monitoring solutions; 3) advanced analytics to capture, manipulate, fuse, and display the collected sensor data that provides the operator with options for process improvement and control; and 4) verification and validation (V&V) and uncertainty qualification (UQ) of prediction models.

  • Advanced High Fidelity Modeling. High fidelity modeling and simulation of energy intensive/dependent processes and clean energy and energy efficient product manufacturing industries contributes to optimized operational performance by enabling productivity improvements and energy savings. Accurate, robust, and predictive physics-and chemistry-based models are needed to simulate, improve, and control advanced manufacturing processes to achieve optimized operational performance. This need is corroborated by the AMP 2.0 Report, where the technical gap assessment identifies “high-fidelity modeling and simulation for control and optimization” of manufacturing processes as a high priority gap for the Smart Manufacturing area. Deployment of advanced control approaches requires high-fidelity, data-driven modeling at the level of the unit process, the plant, the facility, and the enterprise. In addition, these models form a framework for V&V and UQ, testing, and developing accurate prediction and control algorithms and methods.

  • Develop First-of-Kind Application Toolkits for Smart Manufacturing Deployment. A Smart Manufacturing platform, based on an open-standards and open-source framework, would enable plug and play connectivity to ease integration and customization across Smart Manufacturing components and environments. Such a platform would integrate different manufacturing requirements with current IT hardware and standards as well as emerging cloud-based systems, while ensuring that a standard of performance for process control, cyber security, and cyber-resiliency are met. The Smart Manufacturing Institute is expected to develop application toolkits using an open-standards or open-source architecture for workflow design, sensor integration and validation, process modeling, process monitoring, and big data analysis of processes. The Smart Manufacturing Institute is also expected to facilitate distribution of the toolkits, as well as update the toolkits with best practices based on data and results of first-of-kind Smart Manufacturing process demonstrations.

  • Enable Availability of Appropriate Testbeds. Testbeds are needed to ensure that the technologies developed under the aforementioned technical topic areas are verified and validated in conditions similar to those in relevant clean energy intensive/dependent and clean energy and energy efficient product manufacturing environments to reduce risk and break down barriers associated with implementation. One possible role of a Smart Manufacturing Institute would be to provide operationally relevant hardware-in-the-loop testbed capabilities for Smart Manufacturing technologies (TRL 5-6) not commonly available to individual firms, particularly small and medium sized enterprises. In addition, the Institute will provide opportunities for first-of-kind testing (TRL 6-7) of Smart Manufacturing technologies and solutions via pilot demonstrations in representative industrial manufacturing environments through partnerships.


The comments to this entry are closed.