DMDII launches manufacturing cyber hub

March 12, 2018
Opened with the support of the United States Department of Defense, the national hub will allow experimentation on cybersecurity technology for the factory floor

The Digital Manufacturing Design and Innovation Institute (DMDII) announced today the launch of a “Cyber Hub for Manufacturing” with $750,000 in seed funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). The hub will serve as a testbed for the creation and adoption of new cybersecurity technologies to secure manufacturing shop floors across the United States and complements DMDII’s public-private partnership as one of the Manufacturing USA institutes sponsored by DOD to advance the state-of-the-art in digital manufacturing in America.

“The launch of the Cyber Hub for Manufacturing embodies why DMDII exists,” said DMDII executive director Thomas McDermott. “We need to think about securing our manufacturing equipment the way we secure our laptops, and the complexity of this issue means our partners will get there much faster by working together.”

“As the manufacturing sector becomes more intertwined with advanced technology, data, and robotics, it is increasingly important that our manufacturers are prepared to face cybersecurity threats,” said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). “This new cyber hub will be an extension of DMDII’s innovative work of making America’s manufacturing industry more competitive and secure. I was an early advocate of DMDII, I have fought for a steady stream of federal funding, and I am proud to support DMDII’s focus on cybersecurity.”

Small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) are particularly vulnerable as their resources to address potentially-sophisticated cyberattacks are not as plentiful as larger companies. At the same time, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are only as strong as the weakest link in their supply chains, which are often comprised of dozens of small suppliers. According to DMDII, the United States is a prime target and in 2015, nearly half of attacked manufacturers were in the U.S., with Italy in a distant second at one quarter.

“With the launch of a Cyber Hub for Manufacturing at DMDII, Chicago is strengthening our position as a global leader in cybersecurity,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The hub will further enhance our regional manufacturing innovation ecosystem that combines our legacy industries, strong base of small manufacturers, community and research universities, and exceptional talent.”

DMDII will leverage its more than 300 partners across industry, academia and government, as well as its 24,000 square-foot manufacturing floor to test cybersecurity use cases in a real-world manufacturing environment. To address the acute challenge faced by SMMs, it will develop hands-on cybersecurity training programs and create online, on-demand learning modules to reach manufacturers outside of the region.

“The Manufacturing USA Institutes were established with this type of initiative in mind,” said Tracy Frost, director of DOD Manufacturing Institutes and acting director of DOD Manufacturing Technology. “Applying the best ideas from the research and startup sectors to the real-world problems of industry – from component manufacturers to prime system integrators – helps secure the supply chain and ultimately, the warfighters who rely on these capabilities to achieve their missions.”

The launch of the Cyber Hub for Manufacturing was announced at a celebration of the Institute’s four-year anniversary, where stakeholders from across the country recognized the Institute.

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