Industry/government/military machining initiative

The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences has awarded contracts worth $2.4 million to fund the second phase of the Smart Machine Initiative.

Established by the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences in 2004, the Smart Machine Initiative is a collaborative effort between several commercial firms, government agencies and military maintenance facilities to demonstrate the viability of functional Smart Machine applications on a variety of machine tools and special process equipment. The program's objective is to provide better information to enable management to achieve the goal of making parts better, faster and at lower cost, according to Richard Curless, vice president, engineering and development for Cincinnati Machine Inc.

Machines at various manufacturing sites are equipped with monitoring capability to gather and report their performance status automatically and in a consistent and timely fashion.

In the Smart Machine Pilot Project, NCMS members Cincinnati Machine, Caterpillar Inc. and Advanced Technology Services collaborated with the Red River Army Depot and Cherry Point Naval Depot to implement four proof-of-concept, Smart Machine installations focused on maintenance-support functions.

The Smart Machine Phase 2 project will expand the prior pilot project's original four sites to nine depot and industrialpartner sites by September 2006. Joining the original project partners are Sikorsky Aircraft, Vought Aircraft and four additional military-depot facilities.

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