CCAM members, and industry collaborators are creating a Flexible Manufacturing Cell with NIST Grant Award funding


February 26, 2020, Disputanta, VA, Updated article coming soon

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded a $250,000 cooperative agreement to the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM). The three-year project entitled, Intelligent Flexible Manufacturing Cell, will provide a testbed for accelerating and transitioning emerging digital manufacturing technology from the laboratory to the factory floor.

Industry 4.0 is pushing manufacturing to become more distributed, intelligent, and with autonomy at the cell level. Driven by these advances and motivations, manufacturing is becoming more digitally integrated than ever, enabling new insight into production processes via data directly captured from PLCs, sensors, and signals at the process and machine level. These advances allow flexible manufacturing, a process which can be modified to meet variable physical and digital demands.

The awarded NIST proposal develops and builds such a distributed manufacturing cell for the purpose of developing, integrating, and demonstrating the next generation of digital technology fueling the promise of Industry 4.0.

Dr. Tim Bakker

“The cyber-physical testbed will enable industry partners, standards organizations, and government partners to develop, test, and demonstrate new technologies, prove functional concepts, and test use cases that relate to flexible and distributed manufacturing processes,” said CCAM Intelligent Factory Research Manager, Dr. Tim Bakker.

“As a leader in our industry, Newport News Shipbuilding is interested in collaboration opportunities that may advance Industry,” said Newport News Shipbuilding Engineering Manager and CCAM Industrial Operations Board Chair, Dr. John W. Ralls. “We look forward to collaborating with CCAM, NIST, and other industrial partners as an outcome of this CCAM program.”

“These solutions generate real value to our growing consortium of industry and academic members,” said William T. Powers, CCAM President and CEO. “In addition to NIST, I would like to thank Newport News Shipbuilding, Hurco, Amsted Rail, and Simplimatic Automation for their vision and support of this program.”

“As a CCAM member, CCAM supports our corporate research and development objectives in advanced manufacturing through vital collaborative, translational research and demonstration projects,” said Amsted Rail’s Digital Factory Manager, Scott J. Pinar.

Hurco Companies, Inc., will provide a VM10i machining center that supports digital communication using the MT Connect machine monitoring protocol. “Hurco products and its engineering staff have extensive experience with interconnected machines using the MTConnect protocol and are uniquely qualified to support the objectives of this project,” said Cory Miller, Hurco North America’s General Manager.

The ubiquity of process data as more factories drive towards realizing ‘intelligence’ strengthens America’s manufacturing industry; and will encourage small and medium manufacturers to engage directly with Industry 4.0 processes, many for the first time.

US Senator Tim Kaine:“I’m excited that this federal funding will support new technologies to strengthen our manufacturing industry. Investments in manufacturing are crucial as we work to boost economic development in the Commonwealth. I was proud to help bring CCAM to Virginia as Governor, and with the help of grants like this one, I’m confident the center will continue to be a model for the nation for many years to come.”

Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04):“I am very pleased to see CCAM working closely with Virginia’s manufacturing industry. Together, I am confident, they will bring new ideas and strategies to further advanced manufacturing techniques to help our manufacturing sector stay strong and vibrant.”

Craig H. Benson, PhD, PE, NAE; Chair, CCAM Board of Directors, Dean of Engineering, UVA:“The NIST grant that CCAM recently received is a key example of our strategy to promote interactions between CCAM industrial members, the university partners, and federal agencies that has high impact on advanced manufacturing.  Through our collaborative approach at CCAM, faculty and students have unique opportunities to work hands-on with CCAM researchers and world-class industrial partners to provide the technical advances that are critical to the nation’s manufacturing base and economy.  UVA Engineering places a high-value on this approach to translational research and has incorporated it as core element of our strategic plan.”

Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., Alice T. and William H. Goodwin, Jr. Dean, VCU College of Engineering:“This award is an important milestone marker that signifies CCAM is becoming more valuable as a connector of Virginia’s universities with the private sector, and now the federal agencies.  All parties are working together to create partnerships that foster innovation and the application of new technologies to advanced manufacturing. VCU is proud to be a part of CCAM and furthering its goal of improving economic competitiveness.”

Wilson Flohr, CEO of GROW Capital Jobs Foundation: “The NIST award supports our belief that the work at CCAM will benefit our entire region and is serving as a gateway to support long term economic growth associated with our advanced manufacturing and innovation economy.”

Progress-Index Coverage

Richmond Times Dispatch Feature

About CCAM
CCAM’s mission is to solve advanced manufacturing challenges. CCAM provides a resourceful and IP friendly collaborative environment to create solutions for complex advanced manufacturing challenges. CCAM is the center of an ecosystem where academia, government, and industry partner together to create real economic value. CCAM plays an active role in the development of the most talented manufacturing workforce providing a substantial and diverse educational pathway. CCAM is located in a state-of-the-art research facility in Prince George County, Virginia. For more information, visit:

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Betsey Odell (804) 722-3744

Originial Post August 22, 2019 – PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, VA

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