The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing, or ARM, Institute this week announced that two of its initiatives are among 13 pandemic-response projects to receive funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The ARM Institute will lead one project and participate in another led by partner institute Advanced Functional Fabrics of America Inc.
“The ARM Institute’s leadership and involvement on these projects demonstrates the importance of the Manufacturing USA Network and Manufacturing Innovation Institutes to our nation’s resiliency,” stated Arnie Kravitz, chief innovation officer at the ARM Institute.
“We were able to rapidly collaborate with our fellow Institutes and member organizations to propose high-impact projects that will enable a stronger national manufacturing infrastructure to navigate the current COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate future pandemics and similar crises,” he said.
Founded in 2017, the ARM Institute is a public-private consortium with more than 300 members across industry, academia, and government. The Pittsburgh-based organization said it is working to make robotics, autonomy, and artificial intelligence more accessible to U.S. manufacturers large and small. It also supports efforts to train and empower the manufacturing workforce, strengthen the U.S. economy and global competitiveness, and elevate national security and resilience.
ARM Institute lists projects and partners
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The ARM Institute said the two projects received funding for “high-impact” research, development, and testbeds for pandemic response.
The “Robotics and Automation Decision Framework for Agility and Resilience” (RADAR) project will receive $4.9 million in total funding. This project is intended to enable small and midsized manufacturers to systematically evaluate the cost-to-benefit ratio of integrating robotics and automation into manufacturing processes to support coronavirus response.
The ARM Institute is leading the RADAR project and working with Secure America Institute, Georgia Tech, GE, TMAC, Morgan State University, and Deloitte.
Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) in Cambridge, Mass., is leading the second project, which will get $11.1 million in total funding. The project that seeks to enable manufacturing automation and supply chain diversification, as well as to address the environmental impact of personal protective equipment (PPE).
More than 12 partner organizations will work on this project, including the ARM Institute and members Bluewater Defense, Henderson Sewing, Carnegie Mellon University, Siemens, and Sewbo.
NIST looks to create economic opportunities
“Rebuilding our manufacturing economy is an essential component to strengthening our communities and creating opportunity for all Americans,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in a press release from NIST. “The breadth and variety of these awards shows that manufacturing can be an economic driver in every community.”
“From creating an advanced manufacturing testbed in Appalachia, to building clean, reliable power in Native American communities, these grants are essential to creating manufacturing jobs and skills in every corner of America,” she said.
The complete funding package, which was provided by NIST through the American Rescue Act, supports 13 projects at eight institutes in the Manufacturing USA network, working with more 80 partners, including leading research universities, nonprofits, and small and large manufacturers.