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Michigan's Rallying Cry: Early Digital Adoption for SMEs

Aug. 3, 2021
Industry 4.0 outreach, collaboration and readiness assessments target 6,000 manufacturers.

Michigan has been known for its expertise and productivity in manufacturing for more than 120 years. To maintain the state's competitive manufacturing advantage, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is leading a signature Industry 4.0 initiative. The partnership with Automation Alley and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) features a multi-pronged strategy to support more than 6,000 of Michigan’s small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the early adoption of automation and digital technology in manufacturing. The adoption of these technologies results in fewer tradeoffs and compromises, superior quality and lower costs, a better forecast, a more predictable revenue and better margins and higher profits. 

Through the statewide initiative, Automation Alley is tasked with providing outreach and Industry 4.0 readiness assessments to manufacturers across the state, building on its reputation as the Industry 4.0 knowledge center.

For example, Project DIAMOnD jumpstarted digital transformation by creating the largest blockchain-enabled 3D printer network in the nation, which consists of 300 connected 3D printers distributed to small- and medium-sized manufacturers through its grant program. The sheer number of printers, connected through optimal security technology, is democratizing Industry 4.0 application and accessibility for even Michigan’s smallest manufacturers.

Implementing Industry 4.0 technologies like Project DIAMOnD is how manufacturers will be able to compete against the global manufacturing competition—and win.

The MEDC is also collaborating with MMTC on the initiative to provide outreach, training events and Industry 4.0 technical assessments to Michigan manufacturers. As part of these efforts, MMTC is helping advance the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies by Michigan manufacturers, providing an in-depth assessment of the company that provides a personalized plan for technology implementation. Technology roadshows are offered statewide to present each of the Industry 4.0 sectors through interactive experiences and course trainings, including a general overview and in-depth analysis of key technologies. This builds on MMTC’s ongoing partnership with the MEDC to help Michigan manufacturers work smarter, compete and prosper in an increasingly evolving business environment.

Michigan intends to have over 6,000 businesses ready to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies by 2025. Even after a century, the state is continuing to manufacture new ways to stay ahead, combining its proud heritage and technological expertise to develop the innovative, high-tech products of the future.

Natalie Chmiko is vice president, Pure Michigan Business Connect & International Trade at Michigan Economic Development Corp.

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