Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will lead the northeast regional effort of the new Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute. Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo are also founding member institutions within New York State. These world-class universities are part of a 200-member consortium of partners from academia, industry, and the non-profit sector that will spur advances in smart sensors and digital process controls that can radically improve the efficiency of U.S. advanced manufacturing.
The Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII) is the ninth member of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), a network of research institutes that are developing and commercializing innovative manufacturing technologies. Other NNMI institutes include the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics) in Rochester, of which RIT is also a participant. President Barack Obama announced the new CESMII institute and Rensselaer’s lead regional role in June.
Rensselaer as the CESMII Regional Manufacturing Center
CESMII will be headquartered in Los Angeles, California and brings over $140 million in public-private investments from leading manufacturers and universities across the country. There are five regional centers, including Rensselaer in Troy, New York. According to a White House Fact Sheet, Rensselaer’s strengths include its “strong presence” in microelectronics manufacturing. The other regional centers around the country are being led by UCLA, Texas A&M, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and North Carolina State.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is providing approximately half of the funding for the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute because of its interest in promoting energy efficiency among U.S. manufacturers. According to the DOE, and the various regional centers “will be home to technology testbeds aimed at helping new smart manufacturing technologies reach the marketplace faster.” Here in the northeast, GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ semiconductor foundry in Malta, New York is one such testbed. Other private sector members include GE and Corning, Incorporated, technology leaders and smart manufacturing innovators with a strong New York State presence. As the Albany Times Union explains, GE’s Brilliant Manufacturing software keep factories running at optimum efficiency with reduced downtime. By supporting insightful decisions, Brilliant Manufacturing also promotes quality.
Building on the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition and New York State Assets
Rensselaer, RIT, and SUNY Buffalo are all part of the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC), the national consortium that led the proposal to establish CESMII. For RIT’s Golisano’s Institute for Sustainability (GIS), SMLC participation is the latest chapter in a distinguished history of service to manufactures. Current GIS programs include sustainable production, sustainable energy, sustainable mobility, and ecologically-friendly information technology programs.
“RIT has a long heritage of helping U.S. manufacturers remain competitive in a global marketplace,” said Nabil Nasr, associate provost and director of GIS, in an interview with RIT’s University News. As an SMLC academic partner, Nasr explained, GIS “will enable transformational improvements in energy efficiency and U.S. manufacturing productivity, while also creating highly skilled jobs, supporting the current and future workforce, and increasing the quality of life. We look forward to making a critical impact on U.S. manufacturing.”