ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A new digital manufacturing facility is getting ready to open in Northern Illinois and it's expected to help improve local manufacturing companies and spark job creation.
The Rockford area is well known for its manufacturing. A new research center in Chicago called the Digital Manufacturing & Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), wants to help make the process faster and more efficient.
"So imagine a designer who's going to be making key decisions on a product development process, whether it's design features, materials, every selection they make, virtually we'll be able to represent the exact cost of that decision, the time to market impact of that decision," explains Dean Bartles, executive director of DMDII.
All of those things are supposed to make companies more competitive.
"This digital manufacturing institute will allow us to bring products faster to market and be more competitive globally right here locally," says Jeffrey Kaney, with manufacturing company Kaney Aerospace.
Companies throughout the state will be able to connect to the center through a membership fee, which may be worth the investment, to reduce overall costs and potentially get new work.
"They'll be able to put together proposal teams and respond to project calls, to be able to develop some of the new technologies," says Bartles.
"We here in Rockford and the surrounding areas are ground zero for taking manufacturing to the next level and the digital manufacturing lab that we are partnering with here, is the vehicle that will help take us to the next level," says 17th District Representative Cheri Bustos.
Another big piece of this digital lab, is partnering with universities and colleges to create curriculum which will prepare students and help them get jobs.
Renovations on the facility start this Fall and it's expected to open in February.