Oakland and Macomb County partner with Automation Alley to support manufacturers in providing critical PPE for first responders, health care professionals and citizens

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Multi-million-dollar Personal Protective Equipment Resilience Grant will accelerate local manufacturers’ digital transformation and improve region’s PPE manufacturing response in future disruptions

Automation Alley

“We are grateful to Oakland County Executive David Coulter and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel for recognizing the need for rapid ramp-up to Industry 4.0 in our immediate manufacturing base and to position our region as an agile, essential source of PPE in times of national crisis.”

Automation Alley, Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center and the World Economic Forum’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB) for North America, is the recipient of a $10 million grant from Oakland County and $2 million grant from Macomb County to help each county’s manufacturing base purchase and implement Industry 4.0 technologies that can be used in direct support of manufacturing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping and accelerating the digital transformation of the manufacturing sector, and Industry 4.0 technologies are leading the way. Oakland County, in partnership with Macomb County and Automation Alley, has created the Personal Protective Equipment Resilience Grant Program to address the urgent need to move Oakland County and Macomb County-based companies quickly into the digital manufacturing age of Industry 4.0 to help improve our region’s manufacturing agility for PPE.

The announcement of the Personal Protective Equipment Resilience Grant Program was made at a press conference on June 30 at Automation Alley’s headquarters in Troy, where Oakland County Executive David Coulter, Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel and Automation Alley Executive Director and CEO Tom Kelly offered remarks.

“It is Automation Alley’s distinct privilege to be entrusted with a grant of this magnitude for the express purpose of further mobilizing our region with Industry 4.0 technologies in preparation for future disruptions,” Kelly said. “We are grateful to Oakland County Executive David Coulter and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel for their leadership in recognizing the need for rapid ramp-up to Industry 4.0 in our immediate manufacturing base and to position our region as an agile, digital-ready essential source of PPE in times of national crisis.”

Coulter noted the county’s relationship with Automation Alley and the role it plays in advanced manufacturing.

“This is an example of Oakland County leveraging its manufacturing might to help protect our health care professionals, first responders and residents,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said. “We have a long history with Automation Alley and we’re pleased this collaboration will help our small and medium manufacturers obtain the technologies they need to stay relevant in a changing world.”

Hackel acknowledged that this grant will be welcome news for Macomb County manufacturers.

"Faced with economic uncertainty, it is incumbent we develop inventive ways to aid our business community," Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel said. "With the strategic leadership of Automation Alley, we are leveraging global best practices to position local companies to be at the forefront of technological innovation and workplace safety."

Oakland and Macomb county-based manufacturers interested in applying for the Personal Protective Equipment Resilience Grant Program can find more information and a link to the application here.

Industry 4.0 technologies for the purposes of this grant program refer to: Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, The Cloud, Cybersecurity, Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Materials and Modeling, Simulation, Visualization, and Immersion (MSVI).

Industry 4.0 technologies enable rapid and resilient responses to catastrophic events. The following are some examples of their use during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Digital factory and MSVI technologies used to model TCF Center in Detroit
  • Additive manufacturing used to produce ventilator parts and molds, and PPE
  • Big data used to assess CV-19 spread, behaviors, and trends
  • Cybersecurity technologies critical for secure contact tracing

About Oakland County
Oakland County is Michigan’s business address, with 66 of the top global OEM suppliers having an office or factory here. Meritor, BorgWarner, Kelly Services, Lear Corp. and Penske Automotive Group all have their world headquarters here. Fiat Chrysler has its North American headquarters here. The county has enjoyed a AAA bond rating since 1998. Our 1.2 million residents enjoy nearly 90,000 acres of parkland, 65 miles of trails, 76 public and private golf courses and 1,450 lakes, rivers and streams and the headwaters of five river systems. We have 32 unique downtowns. Several of our communities have been named by Money Magazine as among the best places to live in the country. Oakland County is where people and technology prosper.

About Macomb County Planning & Economic Development
The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development supports an environment where businesses prosper and people thrive. Its activities and programs are focused on stimulating the local economy through business retention, expansion and attraction while improving the overall quality of life for residents. The department specializes in providing services to businesses at all stages of development with a concentration on the high-growth industries of aerospace, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, defense, and homeland security. For more information, call 586-469-5285 or visit http://www.MacombBusiness.com.

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is the World Economic Forum's Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB) for North America and a nonprofit Industry 4.0 knowledge center with a global outlook and a regional focus. We facilitate public-private partnerships by connecting industry, education and government to fuel Michigan's economy and accelerate innovation. Our programs give businesses a competitive advantage by helping them along every step of their digital transformation journey. We obsess over disruptive technologies like AI, the Internet of Things and automation, and work hard to make these complex concepts easier for companies to understand and implement. Visit automationalley.com.

The mission of Automation Alley is to help businesses stay in business by equipping them with the necessary knowledge to leverage the intersections of advanced technologies, systems and people to jumpstart or accelerate a digital path to strategic success.

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Barbara Fornasiero
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