New DMDII Research Awards Include Cybersecurity Project

Feb. 12, 2016
UI Labs’ Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute has awarded $15 million for six new contracts, including its first research focused specifically on helping small and medium-sized manufacturers address cybersecurity needs.

The latest national contract research awards to come out of UI Labs’ Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) includes the institute’s first project focused specifically on cybersecurity. This is an important step forward for DMDII’s core mission of propelling U.S. digital manufacturing and design forward.

All six of the latest project awards sponsor research that will change the way that manufacturers do business, but the cybersecurity initiative is particularly exciting, noted Greg Harris, DMDII’s program manager through the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC). “The U.S. manufacturing sector lacks the compliance pathway and workforce development plan to comply with current standards,” he said. “This award is part of DMDII’s commitment to moving American manufacturing beyond the 21st century.”

“Assessing, Remediating and Enhancing DFARS Cybersecurity Compliance in Factory Infrastructure” is the first DMDII project focused specifically on cybersecurity. The project seeks to test and validate a uniform cybersecurity standard for manufacturing, with the goal of improving the cybersecurity of the supply chain across the manufacturing industry. It reflects feedback from DMDII’s large manufacturing partners, which have expressed the need for improved supply chain management security.

The project will review U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) cybersecurity standards for contractors and conduct a series of case studies to assess the costs and capabilities manufacturers need to meet them. Ultimately, more manufacturers will be able to become compliant with the DoD standards, adding more potential contractors into the DoD and manufacturing pipeline.

This project will just scratch the surface in addressing the cybersecurity needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the manufacturing industry as a whole, according to DMDII. But it is nonetheless an important initial step in enhancing cybersecurity for the U.S. supply chain.

“Companies of all sizes, as well as federal and state governments, must be concerned about the security of the other organizations that make up their supply chain, as their security could be compromised by an insecure partner,” said Jim Henderson, vice president of cyber, engineering and technology at Imprimis, the lead organization on the cybersecurity project. “This project will help understand cybersecurity issues in a critical supply chain segment—manufacturing—and ultimately propose an enhanced cybersecurity standard that is tailored to the industry.”

This project—which also includes Spire Manufacturing Solutions and Western Cyber Exchange—seeks to create, test and implement a uniform cybersecurity standard for DMDII, with the goal of improving cybersecurity and supply chain security across the manufacturing industry. It reflects feedback from DMDII’s large manufacturing partners who have expressed the need for improved supply chain management.

The project will review DoD cybersecurity standards for contractors, assess the costs, capabilities, and training manufacturers need to meet them, then develop a case study to aid manufacturers in meeting them. Ultimately, more manufacturers will be able to become DoD cybersecurity compliant, adding more potential contractors into the DoD and manufacturing pipeline.

More contract awards

The latest round of contract awards—$15 million in all, spanning several digital manufacturing disciplines—follow on from more than $7 million of digital manufacturing contracts awarded in 2015 by DMDII. The research and tools generated from all projects will be available on the Digital Manufacturing Commons, DMDII’s open-source online platform geared toward helping manufacturers improve efficiency and productivity.

Key to UI Labs goals, the projects bring together teams with expertise in a variety of manufacturing disciplines and include major multinational corporations, small enterprises, government entities and university researchers. Each project is managed by a lead organization that coordinates work among other organizations on the team. For example, Rolls-Royce is spearheading a project that brings Microsoft and 3D Systems together with academic groups at Georgia Tech, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Pennsylvania State University.

Called “Advanced Variance Analysis and Make,” the project uses high-performance computing to demonstrate how data coming off of a machine relates to the part made by that machine. It will indicate whether an anomaly in the data is, in fact, related to an anomaly in performance and/or adherence to a design specification for the part.

The analyses will form the basis of a database of production anomalies available through the Digital Manufacturing Commons. Manufacturers will use the resulting data in real time to correct an anomaly if it will affect a part’s performance, or to ignore the data anomaly if there is no evidence of impact on the part’s capabilities.

“This cohort of awardees shows what DMDII and UI Labs are all about: smart cross-sector collaboration that is going to enhance competitiveness for the entire industry,” said Dean Bartles, chief manufacturing officer of UI Labs and executive director of DMDII. “Through these projects, we are lowering cost and access barriers to implementing digital manufacturing practices for small manufacturers across the country.”

Rolls-Royce is also leading the “Supply Chain MBE/TDP Improvement” project, which uses model-based enterprise (MBE) technologies to streamline the design stage of the manufacturing process—using intelligent 3D models to eliminate the need to translate to different formats when transferring information between OEMs and other companies in the supply chain.

Other team members are 3rd Dimension, Anark, ITI-Global, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft and Purdue University. They will use MBE to tie data related to tolerance, life of product, and other product specs to the 3D model during the design phase, enabling it to be used for all stages of the process to eliminate issues of unclear or inaccurate drawings.

“Integration of AVM iFab Tools for Industrial Use,” part of the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) program, aims to develop tools and standards for advanced adaptive manufacturing of complex vehicles.

Led by the Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory, the project is trying to create design assist tools to help manage data from design through manufacture and potentially service life. Designers will be able to use simulations to evaluate how well a product can be manufactured and assembled—increasing speed and efficiency of the design process, and cutting costs.

Ultimately, the tools will be added to the Digital Manufacturing Commons, DMDII’s open-source online platform. Work is also being done on this project by aPriori, Oshkosh and Parametric Technology.

Another project that’s part of DARPA’s AVM program is the “Elastic Cloud-Based Make,” led by GE Global Research. This is geared toward giving SMEs access to the AVM advanced modeling, simulation and analysis (MS&A) tools through the Digital Manufacturing Commons. Access to these tools has become increasingly important to remain competitive, but has been too cost-prohibitive for many SMEs.

Other organizations on the teams are Iowa State University, Northwestern University, Oregon State University, Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory, Quad City Manufacturing Laboratory, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Rolls-Royce.

Step Tools will lead the “Operate, Orchestrate and Originate (O3)” project, which will develop a web environment that manufacturers can use to orchestrate machining and measurement processes from tablets and smartphones. Users will be able to check machining programs for conformance from remote locations, and then will be able to adjust the process through apps if conformance is not met.

The servers used to host O3 tools will be located at DMDII, and the tools will be available to all manufacturers through the Digital Manufacturing Commons.