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Smart & Digital Manufacturing

Applying data and analytics to processes, supply chains and interconnected manufacturing plants

The recent decline in the price of edge-computing systems and additive manufacturing systems has increased interest in and adoption of smart and digital manufacturing by medium-and small-size companies. These companies lack the hardware and computing expertise to optimize smart and digital manufacturing systems and benefit from working with a national laboratory such as Argonne.

In the area of robotics, a new breed of human-interactive robots, namely co-robots, have emerged that can work in close interaction with human in industrial and field applications, including medical, healthcare, and social services. Argonne technology in telerobotic operation can provide a platform for these applications.

Argonne Expertise in Smart and Digital Manufacturing

Digital manufacturing encompasses all elements of manufacturing that apply a data and analytics base to a single or small suite of processes. Smart manufacturing expands the concept to include supply chains and interconnecting manufacturing plants. R&D that falls under digital and smart manufacturing includes artificial intelligence, big data, robotics, additive technologies, augmented reality and the Industrial Internet-of-Things. Argonne is in the process of expanding research programs in all of these areas.

Argonne has a strong program on analytics using data derived from individual sensors as well as interconnected sensor systems as used in the Array of Things project with the City of Chicago. Argonne also has a growing additive manufacturing program (see Sections 2.11 and 2.14) with core competencies in Atomic Layer Deposition and characterization of metal 3-D printing parameters. Under expansion are CELS and AET programs on AI, including immersive visualization and mixed/augmented reality. 

With the growth of digital and smart manufacturing comes an increased need for cyber security to protect increasingly complex, interconnected systems. Argonne applies sophisticated tools, such as the Vulnerabilities Laboratory, and Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, and integrates fundamental and applied science to predict, assess and counter cyber risks.