The center is part of a national public-private partnership aimed at reducing energy use in manufacturing.
The Pacific Northwest is getting an advanced-manufacturing center to study new technologies that can make a business more productive and energy efficient.
The center will be in Richland, as part of President Obama’s Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute. Obama announced this week that the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition in Los Angeles will lead the partnership, which is funded by $140 million from both private and public investments.
Washington state was chosen as one of the regional hubs. Led by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), the center will study sensors, analytics and other technology aimed at reducing energy use in food processing, advanced materials and other types of manufacturing. No large factory space is expected to emerge from the effort.
Richland serves as the epicenter for PNNL to work with partners. The organization plans to find developing technologies and help facilitate their testing with various businesses.
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““The idea is to fast-track development and adoption of smart sensors and other technologies, providing manufacturers the information and tools that will allow better energy management,” Mike Rinker, PNNL manager for energy efficiency, said in a statement.
The center will partner with Washington State University, the University of Washington and several other research organizations to explore new smart-manufacturing tools.
The Northwest center is expected to receive about $10 million in federal funds and add $20 million more in “cost-share activities” from local partners.
PNNL and other regional organizations are working with the smart-manufacturing coalition to determine which region will work on what piece.
“Each region of the U.S. has a very distinctive industrial community,” Rinker said. “ … In the Northwest we are way ahead in things like energy efficiency compared to many parts of the nation.”