Intelligent Integrated Manufacturing
Intelligent Integrated Manufacturing

Geocent is leading several imperatives for a national initiative to enhance competiveness in manufacturing, and is providing thought leadership, strategic direction, and tactical decision support to realize a specific concept: Intelligent Integrated Manufacturing (IIM). IIM is a concept put forth by a Multi Agency Taskforce that included representation from the leading commercial and defense manufacturers in the U.S. and from U.S. government agencies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), NASA, the Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program (DoD ManTech), and the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing (NCAM). Numerous state agencies and universities have also provided input and guidance in shaping the IIM concepts.

Related to IIM, Geocent is providing considerable Subject Matter Expertise (SME) in manufacturing operations, manufacturing operations systems, enterprise resource management systems, and software development methodologies and best practices. Specifically, Geocent is building the first prototype, open-source platform that realizes the concepts of IIM as the Intelligent Integrated Manufacturing System (IIMS).

While Geocent is leveraging the capabilities outlined in IIM as a basis for its IIMS-related requirements and software development work, it must be stated that IIM is not a description of an IT system, per se. IIM is a description of the current U.S. Manufacturing Industry and a perspective on what can be done to make it more effective and competitive; therefore, driving down the cost of manufacturing, by taking a systems engineering perspective to enable that end. IIM offers a holistic perspective of the various systems that must be in place to enable effective and competitive manufacturing. IIM subsumes other enabling, and sometimes competing, concepts such as the Model Based Enterprise (MBE) in which all manufacturing and product lifecycles are driven by well-defined parametric models and controllable processes. Therefore, Geocent’s initial efforts at realizing an IIMS were aimed at distilling the various IIM concepts into more concrete functional requirements and then into a robust enterprise level architecture.

Geocent is engaged in further defining the IIMS architecture based on open-source components that could be leveraged to realize functionality required to create IIM capability. Just under a year into the IIMS project, Geocent is now working to take its proof-of-concept code and make it production ready for pilot projects in 2011. More specifically, Geocent is working with manufacturing representatives to tackle what are often referred to as wicked problems that represent gaps in functionality in current manufacturing operations management and support systems. For example, Geocent has prioritized certain IIMS capabilities based on its participation and feedback from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) supply-chain management forum, where supply-chain visibility has been identified as an area for immediate attention, especially for DoD manufacturing suppliers.

Geocent is committed to the realization of the IIMS, and as such, we continually socialize the approach (an open-source based platform) and the anticipated benefits and positive impact to manufacturing in the U.S. We seek and welcome dialog and comments and exploration on how we can better achieve our ultimate goal – the revitalization of the U.S. Manufacturing base.