Counties partner with Automation Alley to support manufacturers in providing critical PPE for counties' first responders, health care professionals and citizens

Automation Alley, Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center and the World Economic Forum’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB) for North America, is the recipient of a $10 million grant from Oakland County and $2 million grant from Macomb County to help each county’s manufacturing base purchase and implement Industry 4.0 technologies that can be used in direct support of manufacturing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping and accelerating the digital transformation of the manufacturing sector, and Industry 4.0 technologies are leading the way. Oakland County, in partnership with Macomb County and Automation Alley, has created the Personal Protective Equipment Resilience Grant Program to address the urgent need to move Oakland County and Macomb County-based companies quickly into the digital manufacturing age of Industry 4.0 to help improve our region’s manufacturing agility for PPE.

The announcement of the Personal Protective Equipment Resilience Grant Program was made at a press conference this afternoon at Automation Alley’s headquarters in Troy, where Oakland County Executive David Coulter, Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel, and Automation Alley Executive Director and CEO Tom Kelly offered remarks.

“It is Automation Alley’s distinct privilege to be entrusted with a grant of this magnitude for the express purpose of further mobilizing our region with Industry 4.0 technologies in preparation for future disruptions,” Kelly said. “We are grateful to Oakland County Executive David Coulter and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel for their leadership in recognizing the need for rapid ramp-up to Industry 4.0 in our immediate manufacturing base and to position our region as an agile, digital-ready essential source of PPE in times of national crisis.”

Coulter noted the county’s relationship with Automation Alley and the role it plays in advanced manufacturing.

“This is an example of Oakland County leveraging its manufacturing might to help protect our health care professionals, first responders and residents,” Coulter said. “We have a long history with Automation Alley and we’re pleased this collaboration will help our small and medium manufacturers obtain the technologies they need to stay relevant in a changing world.”

Hackel acknowledged that this grant will be welcome news for Macomb County manufacturers.

“Faced with economic uncertainty, it is incumbent we develop inventive ways to aid our business community,” Hackel said. “With the strategic leadership of
Automation Alley, we are leveraging global best practices to position local companies to be at the forefront of technological innovation and workplace safety.”

Oakland and Macomb county-based manufacturers interested in applying for the Personal Protective Equipment Resilience Grant Program can find more information and a link to the application here.

Industry 4.0 technologies for the purposes of this grant program refer to: Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, The Cloud, Cybersecurity, Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Materials, and Modeling, Simulation, Visualization, and Immersion (MSVI).

Industry 4.0 technologies enable rapid and resilient responses to catastrophic events. The following are some examples of their use during the COVID-19 pandemic:

• Digital factory and MSVI technologies used to model TCF Center in Detroit
• Additive manufacturing used to produce ventilator parts and molds, and PPE
• Big data used to assess CV-19 spread, behaviors, and trends
• Cybersecurity technologies critical for secure contact tracing

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