FMRG: Cyber: Manufacturing USA: NextG-Enabled Manufacturing of the Future (NextGEM)

Dates: 06/01/24 โ€“ 05/31/28
Award Amount: $2,999,632.00
Award #: 2328260

PI:Yuebin Gu
Co-PIs: Narayan Mandayam, Jingang Yi, Weihong Guo, Yingying Chen


Future smart manufacturing should be flexible, versatile, scalable, modular, and plug-and-play in contrast to the conventional static sequential manufacturing paradigm. This future manufacturing paradigm has stringent requirements of ultra-low latency, highly flexible connectivity, high reliability, and high computing intelligence. However, the current long end-to-end latency, limited flexibility, and the lack of computational intelligence in shop floors impose critical barriers to achieve such a future manufacturing paradigm. The advent of 5G and future 6G (NextG) wireless communication holds the key to overcome these challenging barriers and reshape future manufacturing fundamentally because NextG provides unique wireless communication capabilities of high flexibility, ultra-low latency, high speed, and high reliability to meet the demanding requirements in latency-critical manufacturing. This project will develop a NextG-enabled manufacturing (NextGEM) research framework, an open-access NextGEM cyberinfrastructure, and use-inspired testbeds to enable and demonstrate transformative manufacturing capabilities. The outcome of this project will not only advance the knowledge base of ultra-low latency manufacturing but also translate the enabling technologies into broad practice. The created knowledge, methods, and tools will transform a wide spectrum of latency-critical manufacturing sectors and other industries with similar challenges to realize significant business values such as improved operation efficiencies, reduced defects, and emerging new business models to drive growth. This project will also serve as a platform to broaden the participation of diverse groups including those from underrepresented minority groups in STEM to create the next generation of the digital manufacturing workforce. This is critical to ensure American manufacturing leadership at the forefront of Industry 4.0 economic growth and prosperity.

The overarching goal of the proposed NextGEM is to empower latency-critical manufacturing by leveraging NextG wireless communication technologies. Building upon a trial 5G-enabled manufacturing platform at Rutgers, the project will: (1) create a NextGEM research framework to generate the knowledge of future manufacturing enabled by the new capabilities of NextG-enabled real-time sensing and communication, dynamics-informed meta-learning, and plug-and-play edge control; (2) create an open-access NextGEM cyberinfrastructure to provide the testbed, data, and software services for the end-user community to access, interoperate, and reuse; (3) facilitate education and workforce development to nurture and grow the next generation of talent to strengthen the global U.S. leadership in Industry 4.0; and (4) engage the diverse stakeholders to form a public-private innovation ecosystem to advance the knowledge base and develop enabling technologies for NextGEM. The project will help shape the future manufacturing landscape with the essence of intelligence, flexibility, mobility, versatility, and scalability.

This Future Manufacturing award is supported by the Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS) in the Directorate for Engineering (ENG), the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP), and the Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE).

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.