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Chicago R&D Institute to 'Democratize The Entire Mfg. Process'

DMDII's recently announced open source project has one mission: to unlock the digital manufacturing toolbox and make it accessible to all.

DMDII's recently announced open source project has one mission: to unlock the digital manufacturing toolbox and make it accessible to all.

The Chicago-based Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) announced more details yesterday for an open source software project, Digital Manufacturing Commons, which allows data and analysis tools to be securely shared among manufacturers.

DMDII will select 20 proposals to receive a maximum of $200,000 to develop DMC-associated technology, which must create a clear business benefit, according to the PPD. The federally-funded R&D organization hopes the project will spur new innovation and save millions for the industry.

The widespread availability of design and modeling tools will encourage a new wave of innovation and creativity as the number of people who participate in the marketplace increases, said project leader Joe Salvo, who also manages the Complex Systems Laboratory at GE Global Research. We believe that the unprecedented access to powerful software tools, models and the means of production will serve to democratize the entire manufacturing process.

A public workshop on Sep. 23 at UI LABS, the parent organization of DMDII, will introduce prospective project managers and curious techies to the DMC software development kit. The facility is a 94,000-sq. feet public-private space on Goose Island. Currently, the platform is in the nascent stages of development, but is touted as being able to use Java-based toolchain and user interface for building, testing, deploying, and running models, according to the projectdmc.org. Proposals need to be in by November and the estimated $2 million in funds will be awarded February 2016.

Even for companies that dont participate, the fruits of this venture should bear long-lasting positive effects on the entire industry, with the apps created being accessible to all.  

Online collaboration between designers and makers creates significant value for manufacturing businesses, by reducing product development costs and increasing speed of bringing new products to market, said William P. King the chief technology officer at DMDII.

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