Chicago Lands New Digital And Design Manufacturing Hub

It turns out that Sunday’s announcement of the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) in the Detroit area isn’t the only manufacturing institute that has long been in the planning stages. The President has announced the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDI), which will be headquartered in Chicago, Ill., and funded via a $70 million grant that state and private entities will match to the tune of $250 million.

These recent announcements are all part of President Obama's National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) plan, which would incorporate up to 15 regionalized hubs for encouraging more innovation in manfuacturing processes and materials.

DMDI will be led by UI Labs and consists of a consortium of 73 companies, universities, nonprofits, and research labs. Via collaboration, these entities will aim to forge stronger partnerships between manufacturers and software companies so that both might better design and test new products.

The two announcements from the President come as part of his 2014 plan to use his executive authority to create jobs in the manufacturing sector. These Department of Defense-funded initiatives will help build on the fact that manufacturing employment and productivity have been rising since the Great Recession, although haven’t returned yet to their original strengths.

The administration will also soon be launching competitions to find a location for the Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which will be funded via a $70 million Department of Energy fund, and aims to improve the nation’s ability to manufacturing advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites at the production speed, cost and performance needed to make them market-viable in a variety of industries.

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