Wayne State and Cisco team up to accelerate digital manufacturing

mfg_engWayne State University has partnered with Cisco Systems to develop a digital manufacturing center within the College of Engineering — one of several investments Cisco is making in Michigan as part of the State Digital Acceleration (SDA) initiative.

The 25,000-square-feet high bay area of the college’s Manufacturing Engineering Building at 4815 Fourth Street will be converted into the Digital/SMART Manufacturing Demonstration Center (D/SDC), an innovation and validation hub focused on developing the next generation of digital manufacturing professionals and leaders in automation and robotics. Students and researchers will have access to real-time manufacturing and design data through Cisco Systems platforms and other processes.

“As Michigan emerges as a leader in the high-tech global marketplace, faculty and students in the Wayne State University College of Engineering are working tirelessly to deliver advanced manufacturing solutions that ensure convenience, safety and efficiency,” said Dean Farshad Fotouhi. “This partnership with Cisco aligns perfectly with our innovative and proactive approach to challenges facing traditional manufacturers.”

The D/SDC will house a variety of advanced manufacturing equipment and software, connected with Cisco’s secured systems infrastructure. These resources will enable research and education in domains such as collaborative robots, additive manufacturing, computed tomography (CT) scanning, automated laser scanning, and resistance spot welding. The lab will also allow researchers to explore areas to digital manufacturing and the Internet of Things, including data management, storage, infrastructure and security.

Officials and government leaders, including Governor Rick Snyder, announced the launch of the SDA program at the 2017 North American International Cyber Summit on Oct. 30.  Michigan is the first state to join the program, a three-year collaboration modeled after Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration program that has launched in 16 countries around the world.

“Michigan has made great strides to overcome setbacks faced during the Great Recession, and the economy is coming back in a big way, thanks in large part to the state’s push to accelerate digital innovation and strengthen its workforce,” said Alison Gleeson, senior vice president for Cisco Americas.

In addition to the partnership with Wayne State, Cisco has also planned a “connected roadway” pilot project with the Michigan Department of Transportation that focuses on autonomous vehicles and infrastructure, as well as expansion of IT training through the Cisco Networking Academy.

The goal of the SDA project is to help Michigan and other states advance their digital agenda in order to bolster financial growth, attract new investment and increase innovation potential.