Stephanie Hendrixson, executive editor of Additive Manufacturing, sat down with Automation Alley COO Pavan Muzumdar to discuss the future of 3D printing, how it fits into Industry 4.0, and how Automation Alley's Project DIAMOnD network is driving innovation for manufacturers across Michigan. "The initiative that placed 3D printers at more than 300 Michigan manufacturers is laying the groundwork for a future in manufacturing that is digital, distributed, and largely additive," she writes.
Michigan-based nonprofit Automation Alley has a mission: to bring manufacturing into its Industry 4.0 future. Since its origins in 1999, the organization which first operated inside a single county has grown to serve manufacturers throughout the state, the country, and now, the world. Its mission is to help these companies navigate disruption and implement emerging technology, ultimately embracing the principles of Industry 4.0 — in other words, manufacturing that is “software-driven, primarily additive and distributed,” says Pavan Muzumdar, chief operating officer.
The nonprofit has been working toward these objectives for years through various programs and partnerships, but the Covid-19 pandemic led to an initiative that has been a compelling test of its principles: Project DIAMOnD, standing for Distributed, Independent and Agile Manufacturing On Demand.