2017 End of Year Message From GTMI Executive Director Ben Wang

Dear Colleagues and Friends,
As we reflect on 2017, I want to thank the entire GTMI team, our External Advisory Board and Internal Advisory Board, as well as all of our stakeholders and partners for a combined effort that has made the year such a successful one. It has been a great year filled with remarkable achievements. This letter is a reminder of what we have achieved during the year. We will be detailing our milestones more fully in our 2017 Annual Report due out in January 2018. Here are some highlights:

  • In February 2017, a strategic planning committee was named. Committee members represent a diverse group of stakeholders that includes faculty, staff, government partners and industry leaders. The committee’s first discussion focused on looking at new external drivers such as the new National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), emerging technologies, and macro-economic trends that will impact manufacturing in the next five to ten years. The second was to look at internal changes such as the Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility (AMPF), manufacturing of biological and stem cells, and to incorporate the revised GT IRI objectives. Moving through the process, the committee also analyzed GTMI through a deep Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) exercise. Through the SWOT analysis, the committee synthesized the information to derive a set of signature initiatives that can assist GTMI in meeting its goals and its mission. The revised plan is in line with new internal and external drivers that impacted the plan. The 2018-2021 GTMI Strategic Plan can be viewed online.
  • GTMI continues to make progress as the leader in expanding the Georgia Tech manufacturing innovation neighborhood. The Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility (AMPF) opened officially in June 2017 as a place that enables teams of academic, industrial and government experts to develop, scale and deploy next-generation technologies that promote innovation and allow technical, business and economic strategies to evolve in strengthening and growing the manufacturing ecosystem. It provides opportunities for student engagement via internships and cooperative work positions. As a pilot facility, pre-commercial production systems that employ new technologies can be realized, producing small volumes of new technology-based products, mainly for the purpose of learning about the new technologies. Delta and Boeing were the first to establish research centers at AMPF. Delta provided generous funding to refurbish the facility prior to its opening. 
  • Workforce development is a critical factor in the country’s manufacturing renaissance. GTMI is continuing to focus on innovative ways to build and maintain a skilled workforce. Our partnerships with the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcE) remain strong. Programs already in place provide opportunities for two-year TCSG students to work with Georgia Tech undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty. Georgia Tech faculty and staff supervise all student teams as they work on real-world challenges. The Manufacturing Scholars Program is leveraging critical partnerships between GTMI, GT faculty, and sponsoring manufacturing companies to accelerate the development of awareness, interest, skills, and knowledge in manufacturing for GT undergraduates. Plans are to grow the program and actively recruit participants.
  • GTMI supports a number of Signature Initiatives for advanced manufacturing at Georgia Tech. Currently, the list of Signature Initiatives includes those for: additive manufacturing, cell manufacturing, bio-printing and tissue fabrication, composites repair, digital and robotic manufacturing, IoT for manufacturing, precision machining, and supply chain and logistics innovation.
  • GTMI continues to support the new Georgia Tech Marcus Center for Therapeutic Cell Characterization and Manufacturing and the NSF-funded Engineering Research Cell for Manufacturing Technologies that will develop processes and techniques for ensuring the consistent, low-cost, large-scale manufacture of high-quality living cells used in cell-based therapies. The therapies developed by the center will be used for a variety of disorders such as cancer, lung fibrosis, autism, neuro-degenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders and spinal-cord injury – as well as in regenerative medicine. Cell therapies, especially immune cell therapies such as T-cell immunotherapies for cancers, are revolutionizing the way we treat devastating, incurable, and chronic diseases and have great potential for transformative impact on health and on how healthcare impacts the economy. Cell therapy is the fastest growing segment of regenerative medicine and also the largest. Globally, the stem cell therapy market is expected to be worth US $180 billion by 2030. The T cell therapy market alone will be worth US $30 billion by 2030. The emerging cell therapy industry is challenged to enable scalable manufacturing of therapeutic cells as an effective, safe, reproducible, and affordable pharmaceutical product with standardized characterization and quality control. A necessary condition for fast growth and significant impact of this emerging industry is robust end-to-end supply chains. In fact, a key barrier to such growth identified by industry in the National Cell Manufacturing Consortium, an industry-academia consortium funded by the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies program of the National Institute for Standards and Technologies, is the absence of supply chain management and process modeling for cell therapy products. 
  • Work on a first-of-its-kind roadmap by the Consortium for Accelerated Innovation and Insertion of Advanced Composites (CAIIAC, pronounced “KAYAK”) is complete. CAIIAC’s mission has been to create an innovative domestic manufacturing ecosystem to significantly shorten the time required in manufacturing development cycles, and provide “right-the-first-time material yields” for broad-based composite processes. The consortium’s roadmap focuses on composite joining and repair because it is a highly-underserved market with significant growth momentum, and has transportation and safety implications. The worldwide maintenance, repair, and overhaul market (MRO) is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8% reaching about $65 billion by the year 2020.
  • The third annual GTMI Internet of Things for Manufacturing (IoTfM) Workshop in November 2017 welcomed about 200 participants for a day of important updates on current industry projects, research and news about how the Internet of Things continues to impact manufacturing. Participants heard from major industry contributors to IoTfM, including AGCO, the Air Force Research Laboratory, BMW, EATON, EXIDE Technologies, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Intel, National Instruments, Rockwell Automation, Shaw Floors and Universal Robots.
  • GTMI is constantly demonstrating its thought leadership position by organizing workshops on topics such as the Internet of Things for Manufacturing and holding weekly luncheon seminars as part of the Manufacturing Luncheon Series. GTMI staff are also active in national and international trade associations, with several holding leadership positions within these organizations. The Industry Partners Program (IPP) provides numerous opportunities to build relationships with manufacturing experts in academia, government and industry. For example, in September, the IPP hosted Dean Kamen as the 2017 Distinguished Lecture Speaker. In addition to these activities, GTMI researchers are often sought out as speakers for topical workshops and they also publish papers singularly and in collaboration with others.

Thank you for your support of GTMI’s work. We look forward to continuing collaborations with you in 2018 and beyond.
Happy Holidays,
Ben Wang