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What You Missed: Digital Manufacturing within Caterpillar and the Role of DMDII

September 11, 2018


Manufacturing Technology & Solutions Manager, Caterpillar Inc.


On May 17, 2018, Dr. Craig Habeger delivered an address to several middle market manufacturers at UI Labs in Chicago, IL. The address focused on the role of the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) in the development of digital manufacturing* within Caterpillar.


Habeger first introduced Manufacturing USA institutes. Manufacturing USA is a network of regional institutes, each with a specialized technology focus. The institutes share one goal: to secure the future of manufacturing in the United States through innovation, collaboration and education.


He then elaborated on the DMDII—one of the Manufacturing USA institutes—and encouraging anyone who has an interest to get involved with the 300+ member institute. Habeger went on to summarize the 2018 DMDII areas of focus:

  • Design: Move manufacturing to the left, or provide product and manufacturing feedback into the design

  • Future Factory: Integrate, reduce-to-practice to drive return on investment, or evaluate current/new technologies on the DMDII shop floor

  • Supply Chain: Deliver promise of digital thread and digital twin, or connect it all together through the supply chain

  • Cyber Security: Protect America’s growing digital manufacturing advantage

To accelerate adoption and de-risk innovation, DMDII activates the ecosystem in three principle ways: workshops, projects, and test beds.

Habeger described Caterpillar’s interaction on two specific DMDII projects:

  • Integrated Machine Variation Management: Measures and considers the variations in a machine tool and part, and adjusts the machine tool offset or machining parameters to ensure a high-quality part after the process

  • Reconfigurable Retrofit Kit for Legacy Machine Sensing in Secured Data Environments: An effort to develop low-cost connectivity solutions for legacy assets to increase the digital thread within the factory

Habeger concluded by encouraging the audience to get involved, gain knowledge, start small, and move forward, because the industry is moving forward…fast. The industry as a whole is becoming more efficient, more nimble, and making decisions faster due the massive amounts of data now at their fingertips.


*While the term “digital manufacturing” has many meanings, for the purposes of this presentation, it was used to describe the processes and tools that enable the end-to-end use of digital media, from design to manufacturing to the supply network.


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