Leading Ohio companies into ‘Manufacturing 5.0’

Posted: October 11, 2020

The Ohio Manufacturing Institute (OMI) in The Ohio State University College of Engineering co-leads a team that has received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to help manufacturers remain competitive.

The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) recently awarded 12 grants totaling approximately $11 million. Spearheaded by OMI and the MPI Group, the Ohio MEP project will develop and deploy a strategically-focused approach to implementing advanced technology services for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMM).

Manufacturing 5.0 diagram

OMI is currently completing the first phase of research on how manufacturing firms are evolving into digitally integrated enterprises, what OMI refers to as Manufacturing 5.0. As part of that process, they have developed a series of case studies on how leading manufacturers, both large and small, are investing in and implementing their digital strategies. Initial results show that most SMMs engage in robotics, automation and other digital initiatives on a project basis versus a long-term strategic approach.

Working with the MPI Group, OMI will pilot a digital maturity level assessment for SMMs and help them prioritize and plan improvements projects. Participating companies will benefit from problem-solving tools and techniques and key performance indicators through online learning materials, a digitization project management primer, a visual checklist and a board game called The DIGITAL Journey.

“In order to move beyond the immediate crisis of COVID-19, manufacturers are searching for systematic approaches to increase their competitiveness,” said Kathryn Kelley, executive director of OMI. “To achieve that goal, we will provide them with concrete steps to improve the bottom line through new operations technologies and business practices.”

OMI also was instrumental in Ohio State’s launch this semester of a bachelor of science in engineering technology with a concentration in manufacturing. Currently offered on the Lima, Mansfield and Marion campuses, the program is designed to produce highly skilled college graduates with broad training in manufacturing engineering technology who are prepared for plant management roles.

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