“This RFP we will set the stage to start moving into scaled impact of SM in key industry verticals and supply chains, thereby contributing to the national goals of greenhouse gas reduction and decarbonization through manufacturing efficiencies. The time is now!”

Haresh Malkani


Jillian Kupchella
Director of Marketing
CESMII – The Smart Manufacturing Institute

Department of Energy Awards $1 Million in federal funding for Seven Projects to Accelerate the Adoption of Smart Manufacturing Processes and Technologies

27 proposals were submitted in response to this RFP.  Proposals were evaluated by a pool of 15 external evaluators, and 5 members of the CESMII HQ staff leading to a selection of 7 projects for negotiations.  The evaluation process, proposal rankings and proposals for all the projects reviewed were provided to DOE for its review. The projects recommended for selection have been reviewed and concurrence for 7 projects has been provided by the DOE Technology Manager. 

The proposals selected for award negotiations represent a portfolio of projects that tightly aligns with the goals and metrics of the institute, and CESMII’s scale and deploy strategies.  The portfolio covers projects that demonstrate extended impact in paper, food, SMMs and education.  Below is a brief description of each of the projects selected.

  • Purdue University and BCI Solutions will develop an ontology framework connected with the CESMII SM Innovation Platform to create a decision support system for optimizing the foundry lifecycle process, demonstrated at BCI Solutions (an SMM). A digital twin, design tools and SM Profiles will be made available for the CESMII Marketplace.  The projected impact is 1,260MWh energy savings, 7,100 MT of CO2 reduction, and 4% improvement in yield for the manufacturer.
  • Fullbore and Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) will build and demonstrate a transformative framework using SMIP, SM Profiles, SM Apps to improve productivity for SMMs. A suite of SM Apps will be created for SMM applications and made available through the SM Marketplace. A Value impact playbook will be developed for SMMs to enable implementation, along with a Starter pack that includes hardware and base apps.  The solutions will be demonstrated at CCAT and 3 SMMs.  The projected impact is 5-12% improvement in productivity at selected SMMs.
  • Auburn University will extend the implementation of an ML based soft sensor for measurement of entrained air content in brownstock washing for the paper industry to additional sites at Rayonier, International Paper and Georgia Pacific. The project has demonstrated a 72% reduction in defoamer usage and a 5% reduction in water usage and energy at the first implementation at Rayonier.  Similar impact is projected for other implementations. The project also demonstrates re-use of CESMII supported SM technologies for energy intensive industries.
  • University of Texas at El Paso will enhance its SM lab and engineering courses developed in a prior CESMII funded project, to emulate real-world industry operations, create industry-relevant short courses and micro-credentialing programs, and facilitate SM implementations at selected regional SMMs in an underserved region through use of CESMII’s SMIP technologies. Outcomes will include 800 training hours involving 10 SMMs, 4 new courses, and two SM implementations at regional SMMs.
  • University of Louisville and Argos will extend their existing solution for optimizing cement kilns by incorporating the upstream calcination process, for an expected additional 5% impact on energy consumption and improvement in clinker quality. Predictive models will be upgraded to provide optimized set points for the combined process.  Models and information models will be made available for CESMII.
  • G-W Process Optimization Inc will implement SM solutions for 2 SMMs using low-cost sensing, CESMII’s SMIP for connectivity, data acquisition and analysis, and predictive algorithms combined with remote coaching and assistance. The project will demonstrate 10% improvement in productivity, energy and waste reduction.  Methodology and SM Profiles will be reusable for several other SMMs, particularly those considered as Not-Yet Modern (NYM).
  • 5G Automatica will combine their Borgconnect solution with SMIP, SM Profiles and SM Apps to create integrated solutions, assessment and training packages and implement them for 30 SMMs in machine shop, die casting and stamping SMM facilities. The project is expected to improve productivity by 5-10% for the selected SMMs and demonstrate a significant reduction in SM implementation costs through reusable, templatized solutions.

RFP4 was released in November 2022 with two focus areas Extended Impact & Industry Demonstration projects.

Extended Impact Projects: Showcase energy productivity and/or operational efficiencies in exemplar industry use cases from energy intensive industries (such as steel, cement, food, chemicals) including the manufacturing supply chains, that could employ, augment, or extend existing SM building block technologies (sensing, control, analytics and predictive modeling) and educational content created from past CESMII projects.  The results from these projects could help CESMII in developing new CESMII SM Technologies and workforce development content.

Industry Demonstration Projects: Showcase energy productivity and/or operational efficiencies in exemplar industry use cases from energy intensive industries and/or manufacturing supply chains with Small and Medium manufacturers, that could employ and/or contribute to existing CESMII SM technologies (SM Innovation Platform (SMIP), SM Profiles, and the SM Marketplace). Commercially available hardware or software may be used in conjunction with the CESMII SM technologies.

Details of the RFP are available here 




CESMII – the Smart Manufacturing Institute – has a total investment of $140M from Department of Energy funding and public/private partnership contributions, with a mandate to create a more competitive manufacturing environment here in the US. CESMII is one of 16 Manufacturing USA institutes on this mission to increase manufacturing productivity, global competitiveness, and reinvestment by increasing energy productivity, improving economic performance and raising workforce capacity. University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) is the program and administrative home of CESMII. For more information about CESMII, it’s history and Smart Manufacturing, visit cesmii.org