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UW a research partner in new Digital Lab

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The University of Wisconsin is part of a new effort to make the United States more competitive in manufacturing.

UW-Madison is a research partner with the new "Digital Lab", based in Chicago.

It's the nation's primary research institute for digital manufacturing and design innovation.
The $320-million project is part of the federal government's attempt to return the U.S. to leader status in world manufacturing.

The researchers will work with manufacturing companies to upgrade technologies and methods, making them more competitive in the world market.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank says the initiative will benefit residents of Wisconsin and beyond.

"As a major employment sector in Wisconsin, manufacturing will continue to be a critical driver in our state's economic future," she says. "Through its partnership with the Digital Lab, UW-Madison will provide unique expertise to help ensure our state and national manufacturing industries remain competitive for generations to come."

Led by Lih-Sheng (Tom) Turng, a UW-Madison professor of mechanical engineering, the UW-Madison team includes experts in advanced manufacturing, intelligent machines, and advanced analysis from fields ranging from engineering to computer sciences.

While each group of experts will have a specific focus-for example, supply-chain challenges with high-variety or custom-engineered products; smart sensors, controls, analysis and other tools for self-aware manufacturing; or computer-aided product design, automation, modeling, simulation and manufacturing-the UW-Madison researchers' overall goal is to contribute to a secure, seamless platform for using and sharing digital manufacturing data.

"This initiative will enable us to leverage existing UW-Madison technology-transfer resources in ways that allow us to address a critical national challenge," says Ian Robertson, UW-Madison College of Engineering dean. "The Digital Lab is an important link between our leading-edge research and the companies and industries across the manufacturing spectrum that will benefit from these innovations."

Digital manufacturing has the potential to create thousands of high-quality jobs in advanced manufacturing fields in Wisconsin and throughout the country. In Wisconsin, nearly a quarter of state residents work in the manufacturing industry.

"Manufacturing is a key driver of and a vital component of Wisconsin's economy, and digital manufacturing will boost small, medium and major Wisconsin companies," says Turng, who also is a research theme leader in the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at UW-Madison.

He adds: "The university's role, through the Wisconsin Idea, is that what we do should eventually benefit the state of Wisconsin and its companies. It's been a pleasure, honor and a privilege to work with so many dedicated colleagues on this proposal."

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