Support the Smart Machine Platform Initiative

The fourth year of funding for the Smart Machine Platform Initiative will be under consideration in Congress this summer, and American Machinist is joining the National Tooling and Machining Association in calling for support for that program.

The Smart Machine Platform Initiative is one of the few federally funded research programs targeted to assist manufacturing, and it’s a program that can help to keep U.S. manufacturing ahead in technology and competitive in the global economy.

The Smart Machine Platform Initiative technology is being developed to monitor and control intricate manufacturing processes in real time, and will serve as the foundation for the next generation of precision manufactured goods.

This program is sponsored by a coalition of key manufacturing trade associations, including NTMA, AMT, research organizations, government laboratories, and academia, and it supports research for the development of next generation of internal sensing and control systems that create instructions and integrate them, in real time, into manufacturing processes. The end goal of this technology is “first part correct” manufacturing that reduces costs, waste and production delays.

As the National Tooling and Machining Association pointed out in an email to its members, there are three examples of technologies developed in the Smart Machine Platform Initiative that are being used successfully at many contract manufacturers: preprocess tool path verification and optimization, tool condition monitoring and onmachine probing; and assessments of these technologies and their capabilities have proven that they dramatically improve part cycle time and quality.

This is a multi-year program managed by TechSolve, the Cincinnatibased Manufacturing Extension Partnership center.

John Snyder, program manager for Smart Machine Technologies for TechSolve pointed out that the first three years of funding were used to survey and validate technologies, so that nothing was wasted in reinventing what existed, proving that the technologies worked on machines and together, and demonstrating them.

Funding in the fourth and final year will be used to optimize the technologies and push them to manufacturing, while continuing to make sure the mergers technologies is done correctly and smoothly.

That description radically compresses the goals of this lofty program, but the technologies that it has proven and delivered demonstrate that it is producing meaningful results for U.S. manufacturing. The confirmed results of the program’s first three years justify funding the program in its fourth and final year.

TechSolve is offering executive demonstrations of the technologies developed in the Smart Machine Platform Initiative at its facility in Cincinnati and at selected locations in the coming months. For information on the demonstrations, contact TechSolve’s John Snyder at 513.948.2112 or Jane Schlegel at 513.948.2037.

To date, the federal government has invested $6.5 million in the Smart Machine Platform Initiative, and its supporters are asking for an additional $3 million for its final year.

As the NTMA recommends, call or email your congressional representatives and senators to urge them to support the funding request that will carry the program to its conclusion.

Bruce Vernyi
[email protected]

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