Industry 4.0 Adoption in the SME Defense Supply Chain for Metal Castings

FY22 Project

The purpose of the Youngstown State University (YSU) and University of Northern Iowa (UNI)  partnership is to significantly increase the number of small- to midsize enterprises (SMEs) adopting additive manufacturing, automation, and robotics metal-casting (Industry 4.0) technologies. YSU and UNI are requesting funds to reach 1,000 SMEs per year through direct technical assistance (approx. 75/year) or virtual webinar-based engagement (approx.. 925/year). YSU/UNI will achieve this purpose through the following deliverables:

Expand SME Access to Industry 4.0 Technology in World-Class Facilities. YSU and UNI will provide SME employers with access to Industry 4.0 technology at their advanced manufacturing centers to learn technology management and conduct applications testing.

Custom Applied Curriculum to Train the Industry 4.0 Workforce. YSU and UNI will provide industry-tailored training in automation, robotics, and Industry 4.0 topics. The training is portable, subject specific, applied in focus, and solution-based relative to the particular needs of the SME participants. The team will work with local community colleges to develop custom course curriculum.

Business Development Assistance for Existing Supply Chain Companies. C-suite leadership will be guided to develop a strategy for investing and implementing Industry 4.0 technologies through a focus on three approaches. First, direct one-to-one assistance focused on developing a business strategy and the consequential support processes. Second, training events, including webinars, will be offered regularly to provide awareness of critical elements and the training necessary to integrate them into the operation. Third will be to build networks and mentor relationships among subject matter experts.

YSU and UNI have a longstanding relationship in supporting our nation’s defense supply chain for metal castings. This project integrates the distinctive capabilities of Youngstown State University’s Excellence Training Center and the University of Northern Iowa’s Additive Manufacturing and Metal Casting Centers to contribute to our nation’s critical need for a strong and competitive defense manufacturing supply chain.