NDEMC model recognizes that training alone for an enterprise’s utilization of a product or service without any subsequent support to integrate these resources into their product lifecycle-will unlikely to generate any long-term success. Digital Manufacturing takes sufficient time to develop, nurture and must be done with a complete support system. NDEMC is designed to provide a wide spectrum of HPC and MS&A resources as well as training expertise.
Each Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturing Enterprise (SME) participating will be involved in an assessment of manufacturing information technology needs at their site. Initially, the focus will be on identification of one or more small, achievable milestones that will result in improved efficiencies in working with their Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) through digital manufacturing tools.
It is estimated that NDEMC will be supporting anywhere from 8 to 16 SMEs simultaneously, depending on the degree of overlap and available expertise. New SMEs will be added as others reach a natural conclusion and draw down their need for deployed field trainers and hands-on resources. However, it is expected that SMEs can remain engaged with the NDEMC various ways especially through use of shared infrastructure, participation in meetings, development of case studies and assistance with program scaling.
NDEMC is a resource of expertise, hardware and software in support of improving manufacturing productivity through modeling and simulation, and will be responsive to assisting participating SMEs with education, training, and implementation. This will be accomplished through group and individualized training at the company location and improved access to shared resources (hardware and software) supported by the solution partners. It will succeed if SMEs treat it as a community endeavor, and put into it the effort commensurate with the potential benefits they will receive.
The SMEs are expected to enter into the NDEMC with a desire to integrate or elevate digital manufacturing techniques within their companies. A field trainer will be provided to them at no-cost for a period of time lasting at least several months and perhaps as long as a year. This direct engagement could go on for as long as the SME is demonstrating that knowledge transfer is having a positive impact on transitioning their internal workflows.
Through these activities we seek to improve supply chain integration, shorten time-to-market, and meet their SME bottom line expectations through the use of software and advanced computing resources. By creating a supply chain that is more agile and able to anticipate OEM design requests, we will demonstrate the value proposition to the OEMs in supporting NDEMC for the long term.
Expected Time Commitment For SMEs
Each engagement will be tailored to meet the needs of the SMEs in support of implementation and adoption, and will likely contain occasional periods of more intense activity, followed by periods of less frequent hands-on activity supplemented by phone, email, and online learning. Approximately one week per month of a technical staff person’s time for the duration of the engagement is anticipated. The staff will work with the field trainer, and on their own, to adopt what they’re learning directly into product development and prototyping.
The following exemplifies the expected time average commitments from the SMEs:
- Initial kick-off with engagement from the CEO or President to understand the value of simulation and HPC and secure internal support for the engagement.
- Approximately 3 – 5 days per month (on average) of time that the field trainer will work with the SME on-site developing knowledge transfer, and will work on demonstrating product development using new techniques. During these site visits, direct interaction between the trainer and staff will be important, and a workspace for the trainer to sit at a computer workstation will be expected.
- Continued effort on an as-needed basis by the technical staff to sustain momentum in training and adoption in between site visits.
- 0-1 days per month of staff time to attend group training, workshops, SME focused NDEMC meetings, etc…
- 1-2 days near the end of the engagement to participate in lessons learned, case studies, etc…
- Field trainers are expected to be on site with SMEs regularly, using a flexible schedule that meets the needs of the SMEs and allows the trainer maximum efficiency in maintaining multiple SME engagements, travel to sites, etc.
Digital engineering and process manufacturing software that is accessible and adoptable in the SME community will be vital to the success of this project. The NDEMC will use available resources from commercial, open source, and internally developed software.
Commercial software developed and supported by Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), which represent a large component of the universe of applicable software. These ISV codes range from highly sophisticated multi-physics applications with integrated pre- and post-processing, to smaller highly customized codes aimed at serving smaller communities in specific application domains. NDEMC will engage a number of ISVs in a collaborative effort to encourage the SME community to embrace the use of software while also addressing the barriers that have historically hindered adoption. This will be undertaken through a number of possible approaches, including but not limited to innovative licensing models, streamlining digital file-sharing between tools, and exploring economies of scale in broadening the ISV market space.
Open source software will also play an important role in NDEMC, with the Consortium perhaps collaborating with the community on improvements, and utilizing expertise from commercial vendors that specialize in supporting open source packages. Likewise, internally developed software from the OEM sponsors (and perhaps willing SMEs) will be made available to the community as a form of open source (license to be determined). Software code developed using Consortium resources will be used by the collective for the greater good.
In all cases (commercial, open source, and internally developed software), the NDEMC will work closely with the solution partners to develop shared infrastructure that makes the applications readily available to the SME community. For example, web-based tools will provide the user with a single point-of-entry (called a hub or portal ) for accessing software, hardware, results, online help, training, and documentation. Guided web-based expert-systems for domain-specific applications will address software ease-of-use and capture validated best-practices within a given parameter space.
Both NCSA and OSC will provide access to hardware through both remote and on-site access. These sites, along with Purdue, will work closely with the SMEs on determining requirements for cloud-based Software-as-a-Service models that will increase the ease-of-use of the HPC and simulation software. Where bandwidth requirements restrict the ability for remote access, provisions to support interactions at the computing centers will be arranged.
A library of software will be sourced from independent software vendors (ISVs) to provide access to training. Telephone consultation and company site visits will be at no charge during the period.
It will be the role of the NDEMC and its management to identify additional resource needs and matching services during execution of the project.