Ohio's Case Western Reserve University will be the home of a new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Center, helping small and midsize manufacturers adopt new technologies.
The Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems at the university will lead the center in Cleveland. Smart manufacturing, sometimes known as Industry 4.0, is the term for a "technology-driven approach that uses internet-connected machinery to monitor production, automate operations and use data analytics for more efficient and safe manufacturing," a news release stated.
The Smart Manufacturing Innovation Centers are regional extensions of the U.S. Department of Energy-funded Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Institute. The goal of the institute, which works to better integrate sensors and data in manufacturing, is to improve everything from worker safety to equipment efficiency.
Large companies have been working on the smart manufacturing transition for years, the release said, but small and medium-sized manufacturers might be limited in budgets and staff.
"Addressing these limitations requires a multi-pronged approach, from building awareness, to education at all levels, and the development of new, innovative 'right-sized' smart manufacturing solutions," said Nick Barendt, executive director of the Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems, in the release. "This $500,000 SMIC project is a direct result of years of collaboration between academia and the public and private sectors in Northeast Ohio."
Barendt will direct the Cleveland Smart Manufacturing Innovation Center, which will bring together a number of regional partners. That includes the IoT Collaborative, a partnership between Case Western Reserve and Cleveland State University, where Barendt is co-executive director, as well as Team NEO's smart manufacturing cluster, MAGNET and artificial intelligence solutions company Bennit AI. Smart manufacturing demonstrations will be housed in the university's Sears think[box].