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(WASHINGTON, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today introduced the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act, legislation that would assist small- and medium-sized U.S. manufacturers in adopting what’s known as “smart manufacturing technologies.” Smart manufacturing combines information, technology and innovation, thereby allowing for real-time management of productivity, energy and costs across factories and companies. These advanced technologies are set to transform the manufacturing sector, but due to a lack of staff resources, expertise and capital constraints, they have only been implemented by mostly large manufacturing facilities.

“Technology is changing quickly and that also goes for the technology that’s used to manufacture goods in our daily lives,” said Shaheen. “Smart technology programs represent the latest innovations needed for manufacturers to streamline and improve work-flow.  It’s important that America’s small- and medium- sized manufacturers are not left behind and have the opportunity to adopt smart manufacturing technologies so that they can continue to grow and create jobs.”  

Manufacturing represents a significant segment of the U.S. economy employing more than 12 million Americans. Improvements in automation and control through smart manufacturing are estimated to add as much as $15 trillion to global GDP over the next 20 years, with up to $25 billion in energy savings annually for electricity alone.  

“ACEEE is pleased that Senator Shaheen has introduced this important legislation, which will enable important steps to realizing the largest energy efficiency and competitiveness opportunity for U.S. manufacturing,” said American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Associate Director for Research, Neal Elliott, Ph.D., P.E.

“Small and medium-sized manufacturers often don’t see a clear roadmap to deploy energy efficiency projects for myriad of reasons,” said Schneider Electric, Vice President of Government Relations, Trisha Knych. “However, solutions are in place today to help them improve their energy efficiency and leverage their energy spend to reinvest in their businesses, and in turn the US economy. The Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act offers a pathway to support these efforts.”

The Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act would develop a national plan through the Department of Energy that will identify areas where smart manufacturing technologies can be developed, deployed and adopted more quickly. It would also provide technical assistance and create state grant programs that would help small- and medium- sized manufacturers implement smart manufacturing technologies.