Since 2015, Automation World has been reporting on DMDII (Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute) based in Chicago. DMDII, a part of UI Labs, is a federally funded research and development organization within UI Labs that encourages U.S. factories to embrace digital manufacturing and design technologies to become more efficient and cost-competitive.
As reported in one early article on the formation of the DMDII organization, “the mission of DMDII is to apply cutting-edge digital technologies to reduce the time and cost of manufacturing, strengthen the capabilities of the U.S. supply chain, and reduce acquisition costs. According the institute’s web site: The DMDII will both develop and demonstrate digital manufacturing technologies and deploy and commercialize these technologies across key manufacturing industries.”
Since its inception, DMDII has conducted more than 60 projects with its more than 300 partners in pursuit of its industrial digitization goals, addressing such varied topics as serialization, structural composites, virtual twins, cybersecurity, and product variability in complex assemblies.
A few weeks ago, DMDII announced that it was changing its name to MxD. This change coincided with the announcement that the U.S. Department of Defense was awarding MxD up to $60 million in federal funding over the next five years, including $10 million in guaranteed funding in 2019. In that announcement, the organization noted that “MxD stands for Manufacturing times Digital. Its mission is to drive the digital future of manufacturing, pioneering new technologies that make America’s industrial base and warfighters more resilient and agile.”
Though the purpose of the organization will largely remain the same despite the name change, MxD notes that it will now “stand as an independent organization from UI Labs, now that it has achieved strong momentum and robust fiscal health.”
Addressing the name change, Alyssa Anna Sullivan, Director of External Relations at MxD, said, “We wanted to rebrand DMDII to MxD in order to make it simpler, and the renewed commitment from DoD provided the perfect opportunity.”
Speaking to the organizations work with the DoD and the recent DoD grant, Sullivan noted that DMDII/MxD has participated in defense work for years. “For instance, our collaboration with the U.S. Army’s Rock Island Arsenal, the nation’s largest government-owned weapons manufacturer, aims to get equipment to U.S. warfighters more quickly. The arsenal and MxD have used 3D modeling to assess the manufacturing process, and a team of experts has recommended improvements that are now being implemented.”
Chandra Brown, executive director of DMDII, will continue in this role at MxD. Brown previously served as CEO of a metal manufacturing company (United Streetcar, a subsidiary or Oregon Iron Works) and as deputy assistant secretary of manufacturing at the U.S. Commerce Department.