Strategic Initiatives

NCMS is in a unique leadership position to identify key innovation and commercialization topics and organize them into strategic initiatives. Our long-standing, strong, credible relationships allow us exceptional insight into industry needs and potential government requirements. NCMS brings together the right people to identify, evaluate and solve a problem.

NCMS strategic initiatives provide focus to harness funding, education, and solutions. Topics adapt to ensure we advance manufacturing to meet the needs of users, providers and developers.

Strategic initiatives represent diverse topics with commonalities:

Additive Manufacturing / 3D Printing

Additive manufacturing (industrial) and 3D printing technologies are applicable across many industry sectors for product development, data visualization, rapid prototyping, and specialized manufacturing. Their expansion into industrial production (job production, mass production, and distributed manufacturing) has been under development for decades but still has most of its growth potential in front of it.

According to a leading industry report, the Wohlers Report 2016, the additive manufacturing (AM) industry, consisting of all AM products and services worldwide, grew 25.9% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) to $5.165 billion in 2015. The CAGR for the previous three years was 31.5%. Over the past 27 years, the CAGR for the industry is an impressive 26.2%.

Clearly this technology is a game-changer and while development is on-going, focusing on and providing leadership for the technology development, adoption and implementation is why NCMS considers this a key strategic initiative.

Additive manufacturing (AM) technology was originally opposite from subtractive technologies but in recent years, the two have begun to merge. AM adds material and integrates various processes to create a three dimensional object, prototype or product, subtractive manufacturing employs a wide variety of processes to eliminate material. The design properties required by each are significantly different and creates unique capabilities and applications for both. By allowing multiple materials with different build structures to co-mingle, we are seeing new opportunities and applications for the technologies and companies using them.

AM is an emerging technology with great potential applications for both industry and Government.

  • Rapid iterations of prototyping, reducing time and money for design
  • Reduction in wait time
  • Enabling of just in time manufacturing on site at locations
  • Support of immediate readiness
  • Small, unique production runs

Connecting industry and government to determine the potential uses of AM serves, identify standards and protocols, validate and document design and production criteria and applications are all key deliverables for NCMS, its members and its partners.

Open to any NCMS Collaboration Member, the Additive Manufacturing Strategic Initiative enables cross-industry collaboration among organizations interested in developing and using the technology. For more information, contact Jon Riley.

Advanced Materials / Composites

Manufacturers increasingly require materials designed and developed for improvements in the manufactured product. Product designers incorporate advanced materials and composites in order to lightweight, strengthen, improve durability and protect the product and users.

Advanced modeling and simulation using high performance computers allows for streamlined development of entirely new materials, without compromising product performance, safety, and efficiency. Through this process, advanced materials are created which are lighter, stronger, safer, and more environmentally friendly than traditional materials. The application of new lightweight materials extends to ground vehicles, aviation, commercial transport, shipping, and many other sectors.

NCMS assembled an innovative suite of software tools and cross industry innovators to help component manufacturers create and realize the benefits of lightweight materials while lowering costs, minimizing risk, and speeding commercialization. Through the use of high performance modeling & simulation, manufacturers select optimal lightweight materials for their products during the design phase.

Ultimately this strategic initiative will improve manufacturability, lower costs, and greatly increase sustainability and fuel efficiency.

The Advanced Materials / Composites Strategic Initiative is open to any NCMS Collaboration member. For more information, contact Jon Riley.

Cyber Security

NCMS is dedicated to helping manufacturers develop robust systems which ensure uninterrupted production. In response to new and complex cyber security demands, NCMS is helping manufacturers, their partners and supply chains become better equipped to address the new world dynamic by equipping manufacturers with world-class information assurance, knowledge and services.

Information security is a critical issue in manufacturing – every organization has valuable data which is at risk. In response to new and complex cyber security demands, NCMS has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security, and others, to address cyber security issues in the critical manufacturing sector, assembling technical experts in operational technology and cyber security. The Cyber Security Strategic Initiative identifies and closes security and resilience gaps.

For more information on the Cyber Security Strategic Initiative, please contact Rebecca Taylor.

Digital Manufacturing

Digital manufacturing is the dramatically intensified application of manufacturing intelligence using advanced data analytics and modeling & simulation (M&S) to produce a fundamental transformation in how we make things. It identifies and solves design challenges, replacing and augmenting CAD/CAM solutions which simply aid the design process.

Digital manufacturing will drive enormous benefits for small and medium sized manufacturers in the so-called “Missing Middle” – the oft-ignored manufacturers who typically employ fewer than 500 people, but are nonetheless responsible for more than twice the global employment of larger organizations.

Digital manufacturing is a key innovation which will drive North American manufacturing competitiveness.

The Digital Manufacturing Strategic Initiative identified primary barriers which prevent Missing Middle manufacturers from maximizing digital manufacturing – these are awareness, perceived value and access to tools and human capital.

The perceived cost of digital manufacturing technologies has been a significant barrier to entry for smaller organizations. This sector needs access and mastery of the tools of tomorrow’s innovative manufacturers and product designers.

The Digital Manufacturing Strategic Initiative provides a single marketplace where hardware, software, and expertise are affordably accessible to Missing Middle manufacturers through secure, web-based portals. NCMS excels at bringing together the three drivers of success: talent, investment, and infrastructure. We break down barriers to entry and provide the tools manufacturers need to remain competitive in the increasingly digital and global economy.

For more information on the Digital Manufacturing Strategic Initiative, contact Jon Riley.

Robotics / Autonomous Vehicles

A uniquely American industry, robotics represents an amazing competitive opportunity. To optimize the manufacturing and performance of robotic systems and autonomous vehicles, entire new industries have emerged. This drives the need for new materials, capabilities, data analysis and which will increase throughput, drive efficiencies, and lower manufacturing costs. Technological advancements in robotic research areas such as machine perception, autonomy, dexterous manipulation, collaborative behaviors with humans, platform mobility, and machine learning allow increased flexibility and collaboration between humans and robots.

Robotics and autonomous vehicles will help define the future. The transitional and transformative nature of this area led to its designation as one of NCMS’ strategic initiatives. The goal is to contribute to improvements in U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing through advancements in smart, collaborative robotics:

  • Level the manufacturing playing field with competing low labor cost countries
  • Enable batch of one production / mass customization
  • Decrease manufacturing cost
  • Enable timely reaction to changes
  • Enable better quality and efficiency in processes with less variation in the resultant product

With decades of experience in developing and managing collaborative technology R&D, NCMS continues to lead the way in cross-industry collaborative research and development of robotics and related industry sectors.

Collaborative Members interested in participating in the Robotics / Autonomous Vehicles Strategic Initiative should contact Phil Callihan.