MRO Magazine

GE’s Digital Marketplace to Revolutionize Manufacturing

By Business Wire News   


GE (NYSE:GE), a leading industry member of the UI LABS led Digital Manufacturing Design and Innovation Institute (DMDII), has been selected to lead the Institute’s effort to create a Digital Manufacturing Commons, or Digital Marketplace, which forms the “digital thread” that will connect and drive manufacturing supply chains in the future. The open source platform GE scientists are developing will build on the successful platform they demonstrated with DARPA and MIT a few years ago and which has been recognized as an outstanding innovation by top manufacturing leaders.

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An overview of GE's new Brilliant Factory lab at GE's Global Research headquarters in Niskayuna, NY. ...

An overview of GE’s new Brilliant Factory lab at GE’s Global Research headquarters in Niskayuna, NY. Here a multidisciplinary team of manufacturing and software engineers are working to build a fully connected digital thread that connects all parts of the manufacturing process from virtual product design and engineering to the factory floor and on out to our supply chain partners and service operations.

“The Digital Manufacturing Commons will open up innovation and collaboration in ways that create a whole new renaissance in manufacturing,” said Joseph Salvo, Manager of the Complex Systems Engineering Lab at GE Global Research. “The open source platform we are building with our DMDII partners truly will democratize access to the tools of manufacturing innovation for companies, universities, institutes and entrepreneurs big and small.”

Salvo added, “We are taking an innovative approach featuring a distributed and federated architecture and support from a broad coalition of industry, academic and government partners through DMDII, bringing it to an industrial scale that can support entire manufacturing production processes and supply chains. We’re building a system that will enable ecosystems of this scope and size to collaborate seamlessly and securely. The opportunities to increase the pace of innovation and speed and efficiency of manufacturing will be transformational.”

“The digitization of manufacturing operations has the potential to unlock tremendous value for U.S. manufacturers and for the American economy overall,” said William King, who is the Chief Technology Officer at DMDII and the Ralph A. Andersen Endowed Chair of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “GE’s open source collaboration project connects manufacturers, supply chains, and entrepreneurs in a new way to dramatically accelerate new products to market.”

King added, “Industry’s hunger for innovation has driven significant new investments in digital manufacturing. GE’s leadership has been instrumental in focusing, aligning, and accelerating these investments.”

“The construction of a digital thread will allow all facets of the manufacturing supply chain to move faster and achieve new levels of productivity previously not possible,” said Stephan Biller, Chief Manufacturing Scientist at GE Global Research. “We’re seeing an amazing convergence taking place between the physical and digital worlds that is changing manufacturing as we know it today.”

Digital Thread … U.S. Manufacturing’s 21st Century Assembly Line

Manufactured products generate data in every phase of their lifecycle. Data is generated during design, sourcing, production, distribution, point of sale, and when the product is in use. The digital thread is the seamless flow of data across the product lifecycle.

Today, very little data is transferred from end to end of the manufacturing process. The creation of the Digital Manufacturing Commons will support the digital thread from product ideation to manufacture. This thread exists in pieces today in manufacturing, but is not yet fully connected. “The Digital Manufacturing Commons will provide vital connections that transform promise into a reality,” said Salvo.

Digital manufacturing is digitization of manufacturing operations. The digital manufacturing commons will securely aggregate manufacturing data, and allow businesses and individuals to analyze this data. “Manufacturing operations will achieve the agility and speed that we have seen in other digital industries,” said King.

The project aims to build an expansive manufacturing ecosystem, with the goal of having more than 100,000 users from companies, universities, research institutes, and entrepreneurs nationwide by 2017.

About GE Global Research

GE Global Research is the hub of technology development for all of GE’s businesses. Our scientists and engineers redefine what’s possible, drive growth for our businesses, and find answers to some of the world’s toughest problems. We innovate 24 hours a day, with sites in Niskayuna, New York; San Ramon, California; Detroit, Michigan; Bangalore, India; Shanghai, China; Munich, Germany; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Visit GE Global Research on the web at Connect with our technologists at and


UI LABS solves large-scale industrial challenges by forming consortia of academic, corporate and civic partners who innovate and commercialize new technology solutions. UI LABS is developing a portfolio of applied research and commercialization programs that lead to a return on investment for its partners and improve local, regional and national competitiveness.

The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) is UI LABS’ first lab. DMDII is revitalizing American manufacturing, by helping U.S. manufacturers to harness data to make their products better, faster and more cost competitive. Learn more at and

GE Media:
Todd Alhart, 518-387-7914


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