The three state-supported universities are all involved in an advanced manufacturing consortium that was announced Tuesday by President Obama. Dan Reed, University of Iowa’s vice president for research and economic development, was at the White House ceremony. “This is one of the biggest consortia that has ever been assembled to address manufacturing issues in the U.S.,” Reed told Radio Iowa.
The effort involves a partnership between industry and academia that will use computing and data analysis to improve machines and factories. The Cedar Rapids based company, Rockwell Collins, is among the private business members. Reed says the U-I Center for Computer Aided Design will be charged with helping create more resilient machinery. “So, whether it be a piece of farm equipment that has to be reliable in the field or a piece of defense equipment that has to be reliable in supporting life and limb of soldiers of missions, it’s about design for resilience,” Reed said. “It’s a lot of computer-based modeling and simulation to understand failure modes and resilience to vibration and wear.”
The Department of Defense is providing $70 million for the startup of the Digital Lab for Manufacturing, which will be based in Chicago. The consortium’s partners have pledged an additional $250 million for the lab.
The ultimate goal, according to Reed, is to create new ways for manufacturers to digitally design parts and machines. “All to try to reduce costs, increase reliability, and allow companies to bring products to the market as quickly as possible,” Reed said.
The partnership is made up of 41 businesses, including Rockwell Collins, and 23 universities, including Iowa, Iowa State, and the University of Northern Iowa.