They sound quite similar. Digital manufacturing is about an industrial internet of smart, connected products. Smart manufacturing is about the industrial internet of smart, connected factories and production plants.
Still confused? Take a look at this presentation (click thumbnails to enlarge)
It describes the new Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute that broke ground in Chicago last October with $320 million in private and public funding.
It also explains why in December, President Obama then announced a U.S. Dept. of Energy-led competition to establish a separate Smart Manufacturing Institute in America that will probably be funded with at least $250 million in private and public money.
The real twist will be if a Midwest team also wins the Smart Manufacturing Institute competition and locates that hub at a new Energy Innovation Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – just 90 miles away.
Actually, maybe that’s a good thing, because then they could work together – since Smart Manufacturing still seems a lot like Digital Manufacturing. Or maybe it’s just me. That would just be too logical or “Smart.”