Future Factory

Future Factory

About Future Factory

Instead of using technology to replace operators, MxD’s future factory research demonstrates how technology can help them. The products in development, some of which are tested on our factory floor, help companies improve training, materials management, quality, and safety, while reducing costs.
Future Factory featured image

What Is Future Factory?

MxD’s mission is to enable U.S. manufacturers to make every single part better than the last. This requires production lines to be embedded with software that communicates with sensors and is hooked up to the cloud—a so-called future factory. Only with this ability to send and receive data can the equipment improve itself and learn from every part produced in real time.

Future Factory featured image

What Does MxD Do?

MxD serves as a testbed for digital manufacturing technology. In conjunction with its partners, MxD funds the development of new products, some of which are tested and installed on our factory floor. Among them are three retrofit kits that collect data from legacy machines and show how digitization is financially feasible for small and medium-sized manufacturers.

Testimonials

“Digital is hard to visualize. So one of the things I think MxD and its facility has been able to do is to help industry and people visualize what can be done and the art of the possible.”

Barry Chapman
Barry Chapman

Vice President of Aerospace & Defense, Federal and Marine Industries, Siemens Digital Industries

“Small manufacturers come here and they see that some of the same machines that are running digital tools on our floor are the same machines in their machine shop. And there’s all-of-a-sudden this awareness, and watching that a-ha moment is one of the most exciting things we’re doing here.”

Caralynn Nowinski Collens
Caralynn Nowinski Collens

Chairman of the Board, MxD

“We can initiate a prototype right here on the floor at MxD, apply some of the different technologies and tools from other MxD member companies, and then be able to export it out of MxD into an actual shop floor environment very quickly.”

Paul Ryznar
Paul Ryznar

President & CEO, OPS Solutions

“When I designed this shop floor, my goal was to create the ultimate playground for manufacturing engineers, so they can come here and test anything quickly and easily. Everything on the floor is designed to be as agile, flexible and adaptable as it can possibly be.”

Daniel Hartman
Daniel Hartman

Former Digital Manufacturing Manager for North America, Rolls-Royce North America

Facts & Figures

Tap the square to reveal the answer

Facts & Figures

Did the cost of sensor rise or fall between 2004 and 2014?

Facts & Figures

It fell from $1.30 to 60 cents, and the cost is projected to drop to 38 cents in 2020. This decline is helping accelerate the adoption of digital manufacturing.

Facts & Figures

How many industrial robots does the U.S. have per 10,000 workers?

Facts & Figures

176, which puts the U.S. eighth, behind South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Taiwan and Denmark, according to the International Federation of Robotics.

Facts & Figures

What percentage of U.S. manufacturing execs say it’s difficult to find the skilled people they need?

Facts & Figures

61%, according to an Accenture survey.

Facts & Figures

True or false? U.S. manufacturing fixed investment, as a share of GDP, trails Hungarian investment.

Facts & Figures

True. U.S. manufacturing fixed investment, as a share of GDP, significantly trails that of global leaders, such as Korea, and up-and-comers, such as Hungary.

More Success Stories

Software for CNC Rapid Prototyping

This project developed a software plugin that automates costly setup tasks for CNC machining so that manufacturers can go from design to prototype faster and without extensive machining knowledge.

Digitizing Legacy Machines

Replacing or modifying these legacy machines sometimes is too expensive or would disrupt production or void a warranty. So MxD funded the development of a sensor retrofit kit that communicates data through an industry standard MTConnect interface to a cloud dashboard.

Capturing Data from Gauges, Dials

This project developed a computer vision retrofit kit that captures data from dials, gauges, and other visual displays using an affordable camera and small computer.

Reducing Volumetric Error

Caterpillar and researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign generated new algorithms and methods for using laser trackers and scanners in manufacturing large cast parts.