UW-Milwaukee IIoT center gets $900k from WEDC

Rockwell Automation gave $1.7 million to project

Posted by Arthur Thomas by BizTimes, December 11, 2017

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Connected Systems Institute is receiving $900,000 from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to help the project get off the ground.

The grant puts the new institute on a similar level to industry clusters around water technology, energy and power controls, food and beverage and aerospace, where WEDC has made or plans to make similar investments in centers of excellence.

UWM is planning to dedicate 3,000 square feet in the east wing of the Golda Meir Library to the new center aimed at helping manufacturers take advantage of Industrial Internet of Things technology. The space could expand by another 10,000 square feet in the future.

The Industrial Internet of Things incorporates sensors and computing devices to help companies improve efficiency, reliability and lower costs.

“Companies in Wisconsin really need help in this area,” said Adel Nasiri, associate dean for research and a professor in UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science. “The Connected Systems Institute will serve as a central point where industry representatives and scholars can collaborate on IIoT technologies.”

The center will feature a simulation lab that allows companies to test end-to-end production solutions and supporters describe it as the first large-scale public-private partnership in the U.S. to connect industry, academic institutions, government and nonprofits in the industry.

“We are excited to be on the forefront of this emerging technology that will be essential to businesses across the state,” said UWM chancellor Mark Mone. “I am grateful to WEDC for recognizing how critical this project is to the health of Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry and for having the confidence in UWM to lead the way.”

The funding will go towards educational, research and test bed application lab costs. The grant is similar to funding WEDC offered to the Global Water Center and the Energy Innovation Center. The agency also supports annual startup programs run by The Water Council and the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium.

Mark Maley, a WEDC spokesman, said there’s a possibility WEDC could provide similar funding to the Connected Systems Institute in the future if it develops programing that would benefit from WEDC support.

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