For Immediate Release

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Shows the Value of Smart Manufacturing


RPI, in partnership with CESMII and Toward Zero, demonstrates enormous reduction in the cost and complexity of connecting manufacturing equipment to the IIoT, enabling innovations in performance, quality, agility and reliability.

Troy, New York, Los Angeles, California, and Centennial, Colorado, July 15, 2021:  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a CESMII Smart Manufacturing Innovation Center (SMIC), contributing to and benefitting from CESMII Smart Manufacturing research and developments.  RPI is a significant facility in the area of machine tool operation and management, represented within our RPI MILL: Manufacturing Innovation Learning Laboratory in Troy, New York.  We are excited to announce that contextualized machine tool data is seamlessly ported into the CESMII SM Innovation Platform from a HAAS CNC machine (RPI ST-10Y). This critical milestone of contextualization through an Information Model, Type Definition and Semantic Graph, developed at the machine level and published to the cloud-based CESMII Smart Manufacturing Innovation Platform (SMIP) is made possible by a prototype Smart Manufacturing edge appliance (Apogean™), supporting CESMII’s GraphQL API, by Toward Zero Co.

According to Craig Dory, SMIC Director, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, “The first step in Smart Manufacturing is acquiring process data, with the context necessary to make that information self-explanatory, both from user perspective as well as a software (application) perspective, which is very difficult.  The ultimate goal is to use that data to analyze and optimize manufacturing processes, to make the enterprise more efficient and competitive.  That is the value of Smart Manufacturing. Toward Zero makes it possible to solve the machine connectivity problem once, incorporating context for the data, and repeat it across many assets in our facilities.”

“This is a very exciting development for two reasons,” explained John Dyck, CEO of CESMII. “First, machine tools are among the more challenging and costly assets to connect with. There is an enormous installed base of diverse, often legacy equipment, supporting a diverse set of often-proprietary communication protocols, and Toward Zero’s innovation in this area enables both low-cost connectivity, and the inherent ability to contextualize the data coming from that equipment. Second, the Machine Tool market is largely comprised of small and medium manufacturing companies, most of which have really struggled to justify investing in digitization. This development enables them to truly take advantage of the value of Industry 4.0, and to drive USA competitiveness in a global market.”

Kim Burndred, Senior Director, Smart Manufacturing Engineering at Toward Zero remarked that, “We are excited about helping manufacturers achieve the promise of Smart Manufacturing, which starts with access to contextualized manufacturing process data. We’ve been looking for a simple, cost-effective way to solve the equipment connectivity problem, which drove us to invent Apogean™, a low cost, low complexity Smart Manufacturing edge appliance.  It has native compatibility with most machines, positioning it as a great choice to capture equipment and process data.”


This SMIC, located at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is a highly visible, credible, high value, regional extension of CESMII.  The SMIC is an independent organization with strong industry engagement and core competencies related to advanced manufacturing, composites and modeling, high speed computing and scientific computation, and computational innovations.  The SMIC provides CESMII with a national reach across these competencies.

Located in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s George M. Low Center for Industrial Innovation the Manufacturing Innovation and Learning Lab (MILL) is a School of Engineering forward-looking manufacturing learning environment for undergraduate and graduate education.   Leveraging the instructor expertise, industrial partnerships, and industry-grade equipment students can bridge engineering theory to application and master manufacturing processes and systems.  In the MILL, students undergo the same design, process engineering, technical documentation, and systems deployment methods used by industrial research and industry engineering and manufacturing development teams.

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. RPI encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,600 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. RPI faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, RPI remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.


CESMII is the United States’ national institute on Smart Manufacturing, driving cultural and technological transformation and secure industrial technologies as national imperatives.  By enabling frictionless movement of information – raw and contextualized data – between real-time Operations and the people and systems that create value in and across Manufacturing organizations, CESMII is ensuring the power of information and innovation is at the fingertips of everyone who touches manufacturing.

Founded in 2016, in partnership with Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), CESMII is the third institute funded by EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. The Institute is accelerating Smart Manufacturing (SM) adoption through the integration of advanced sensors, data (ingestion – contextualization – modeling – analytics), platforms and controls to radically impact manufacturing performance, through measurable improvements in areas such as: quality, throughput, costs/profitability, safety, asset reliability and energy productivity.  CESMII’s program and administrative home is with the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).


Toward Zero is passionate about operational excellence in manufacturing.  We help manufacturers bridge the gap between corporate strategy and execution with smart manufacturing, so they achieve strategic objectives to operate efficiently and profitably.  Our global team of manufacturing business consultants and engineers deliver services to create or validate your strategic plan, establish priorities, build consensus, choose and implement solutions, and manage change within manufacturing operations and throughout the industrial enterprise.  This approach allows companies to align culture, processes, and technology – in the plant, and throughout the entire business.  Every person on the Toward Zero team has deep domain expertise in their chosen discipline and applies their understanding of your industry so that strategic programs take off on the first try and keep getting the results you expect.  As a result, our clients dramatically improve operational performance and profitability as they focus on growth.  For more information visit Toward Zero or connect with us.



Reeve Hamilton, Director of Media Relations and Communications
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Roy Kok, Marketing Director




Diane Murray, Senior Director Marketing

Toward Zero Co

877.272.4501 x730


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