May 12, 2020
Today, MxD CEO Chandra Brown appeared before the House Science Subcommittee on Research and Technology in a virtual briefing regarding how Manufacturing USA Institutes are helping respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The briefing was a follow-up to the recent Subcommittee Member briefing on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) manufacturing programs.
Ms. Brown briefed the Members on MxD’s efforts related to COVID-19 using its physical assets, virtual convening capabilities, and network of partners.
In partnership with top tier partner Autodesk, MxD has been using its factory floor and all available materials to make face shields to provide to area hospitals in need. A secure set of instructions is also publicly available on the MxD website for others to access and contribute to this effort.
“We are proving that we can be flexible and quickly mobilize the resources of our public-private partnership in times of national crisis,” Ms. Brown said. “While tackling these urgent issues, we continue to perform long-term planning for the productive and safe future of American manufacturing.”
MxD has hosted eight webinars in as many weeks, attended by hundreds of its members and important partners in the manufacturing community. These have provided information on how to be more cybersecure while working remotely; the most updated federal guidance and resources for businesses and academia resulting from congressional stimulus packages, best practices for crisis communications, and engaging with the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center Directors on federal opportunities aimed at small businesses and non-profits.
Together with industry and academic partners, MxD has developed responses to the NIST National Emergency Assistance Program (NEAP) funding opportunity, as well as potential collaborations with the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Defense to show how advanced design and manufacturing technologies can increase U.S. manufacturing capacity; increase supply chain resilience; and decrease time to market for medical diagnostics, therapies, vaccines, and equipment needed for public health emergency response.
Locally, MxD has partnered with mHub, Matter, and 1871 to help support in the fight against COVID-19. MxD has also worked at the state level with a taskforce that is led by the Illinois Manufacturing Association and Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center to connect supplies with needs.
MxD has performed these activities while maintaining its schedule for R&D investments. Previously planned topics such as cybersecurity toolkits for small and medium manufacturers, understanding the ROI of digital, and expanding predictability into the manufacturing supply chain are even more critical in the current environment.
Other panelists at the subcommittee briefing included Dr. Kelvin Lee, Director of the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), and Mr. John Wilczynski, Executive Director of America Makes. A subset of members of the full House Science Committee joined as available.
Subcommittee Chairwoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) lauded the Manufacturing Innovation Institutes for rapidly mobilizing their innovations and member networks to address emerging needs like the COVID-19 pandemic. “They best expectations with the littlest of resources,” she said.
Members of Congress who joined the briefing were interested in understanding how the manufacturing institutes have leveraged local and regional ecosystems through their public-private partnerships to produce medical supplies and countermeasures and what are the most urgent workforce needs for the manufacturing sector.
MxD’s COVID-19 resources are available on its website.