Secure Wireless for Factory Operations

Digital manufacturing greatly benefits from the use of data from various points on the factory floor. When aggregated, data can be utilized for a broad range of use cases such as identifying improvement opportunities. Traditionally, these data streams have been sent securely and with high integrity via hardwire in the factory. As the digital transformation advances, the use of sensors and other data sources will be relied upon at an increasing rate. Connecting with data sources via hardwire is no longer resource-effective and new wireless protocols must be adopted. The manufacturing industry needs guidance on wireless solutions that allow flexibility, mobility, and security.

About the Project

MxD is releasing a Request for Solution for the development of a Secure Wireless for Factory Operations toolkit to provide selection guidance for emerging wireless communication protocols along with a physical testbed for demonstrating the advantages and/or tradeoffs of the various choices. As manufacturers are adopting more digital manufacturing technologies, the number of data sources continues to increase (i.e. CNC machines, metrology equipment, and various other factory floor sensors). These data sources have been traditionally connected via hardwire, but this approach becomes more complex and cost prohibitive with a growing number of connection points. Due to the growing complexity and cost, manufacturers are now looking to adopt emerging wireless technologies into their facilities to benefit from communication protocols such as 5G cellular, Wi-Fi 6, Ultrawideband (UWB), and other protocols. Converting from a standard hardwired connection to a wireless method raises concerns including data integrity, latency, bandwidth, and data security. The connectivity component of digital manufacturing solutions is often a large hurdle to successful implementation, and manufacturers need guidance on the key factors for selection of a wireless communication technology and the advantages or tradeoffs associate with each.

To address this industry need, MxD is funding the development of a two-part solution. The first part is the development of a solution which provides manufacturers with information on the available wireless communication technologies and the strengths and weaknesses of each. The second part is the development of a modular testbed which will be installed at the MxD future factory to help visitors experience the strengths and weaknesses of the different protocols and allow testing of their hardware and software solutions. Through this investment, MxD seeks to advance the understanding of wireless communication technologies in order to accelerate the pace of digital transformation within the manufacturing community.

RFS responses are due on or before
Thursday, September 23, 2021, 5:00 p.m. CT

Solution proposals must be submitted by teams, and MxD membership is not required for submission but will be required prior to project award. To facilitate project teaming, MxD will compile and disseminate contact information from parties interested in teaming during the first month of the proposal period.

If you are interested in submitting your contact info to this distribution list, please email by 5:00 p.m. Central Time, June 25, 2021.

For questions or more information, contact

Note: All project work must be performed in the United States.

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