Wayne State welcomes industry partners for first look at new Smart Manufacturing Demonstration Center

As the Smart Manufacturing Demonstration Center (SMDC) at Wayne State University begins to take shape, the College of Engineering hosted an open house for nearly 50 industry leaders on April 24 to demonstrate the university’s capabilities for innovative manufacturing research and workforce development.

The SMDC has been in development since late 2017 through a partnership with Cisco Systems’ State Digital Acceleration (SDA) initiative. Michigan is the first state to join the program, which was developed to advance the digital agenda, bolster financial growth, attract new investment and increase innovation potential.

The 25,000-square-feet high bay area of the college’s Manufacturing Engineering Building at 4815 Fourth Street is being converted into the SMDC, a hub focused on developing the next generation of digital manufacturing professionals and leaders in automation and robotics. It will house a variety of equipment and software, connected with Cisco’s secured systems infrastructure, that will enable research and education in such domains as collaborative robots, additive manufacturing, computed tomography (CT) scanning, automated laser scanning, and resistance spot welding. The lab will also allow researchers to explore aspects of the Internet of Things (IoT), including data management, storage, infrastructure and security.

Wenzel representatives at the SMDC Open House
Representatives from Cisco (top of page) and Wenzel (above) were among the industry leaders in attendance for the SMDC Open House at Wayne State University.

“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. “The SMDC presents us with an opportunity to harness the power of Industry 4.0 and enhance our understanding of how cyber-physical systems and IoT make smart manufacturing a reality.”

The SMDC is outfitted with the Cisco Kinetic IoT platform, infrastructure, wireless data acquisition systems, and data servers to store data collected from various industry-supported processes, including resistance spot welding provided by Ford Motor Company and computed tomography scanning courtesy of Wenzel America. A real-time optimization framework with ESTECO’s modeFrontier will enhance data processability, and real-time location platforms supported by HERE Technologies will enhance tracking and automation.

“These partnerships align perfectly with our innovative and proactive approach to challenges facing traditional manufacturers,” said Fotouhi.

The SMDC will be fully operational in the fall.

 

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