DMDII, Renamed MxD, Becomes Independent of UI Labs

The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute will stand as an independent organization from UI Labs, which will soon sunset as a brand.


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The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) is being renamed MxD and will stand as an independent organization from UI Labs, now that it is said to have achieved enough momentum and fiscal health. MxD stands for “Manufacturing times Digital.” Its mission is research and development in what it calls “the digital future of manufacturing” with the intent of providing innovations to U.S. manufacturers, particularly those in the military sector. 

The U.S. Department of Defense is awarding MxD up to $60 million in federal funding over the next five years, including $10 million in guaranteed funding in 2019.

“Because of its success to date, MxD is now ready to stand on its own and continue to drive change and impact in manufacturing,” says Caralynn Nowinski Collens, CEO of UI Labs. UI Labs played is said to have played an essential role in propping up DMDII and its sister organization, City Tech, as they built out their respective teams, grew membership, launched projects and secured financial support. As each lab has matured, the need to share space and resources has waned while their missions and partners have become more distinct.

Ms. Collens will remain CEO of UI Labs through the transition. Once complete, she will serve on the MxD board. UI Labs will sunset as a brand, with all employees being absorbed by either MxD or City Tech. Chandra Brown and Brenna Berman will continue to lead MxD and City Tech, respectively.

MxD has attracted more than 300 partners, including Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce, Siemens, and McKinsey & Company. Since its beginnings as DMDII, it has conducted more than 60 research projects with partners in more than 35 states.

The organization is said to be facilitating factory worker training using augmented reality, updating legacy machines for the digital age, and reducing error and scrap in high-value parts. In one project, Caterpillar and researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created new algorithms and methods for manufacturing large parts. The resulting software is said to reduce a machine’s volumetric error by more than 80 percent and detects insufficient stock, reducing the overall cost of manufacturing waste.