CCAT Awarded $7M to Establish DoD Digital Thread Manufacturing Lab for Northeast Defense Industrial Base

The Department of Defense’s Office of Industrial Base Policy (IBP) recently announced that it has joined forces with the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) in East Hartford to fully leverage data-driven digital capabilities to improve the cost-effectiveness and responsiveness of commercial production by the supply chain to meet DoD needs. The Digital Thread Manufacturing Prototype Project will promote and speed the adoption of advanced technologies, skilled workforce development, and the integration of digital tools (especially in situ sensors and metrology capabilities) by current and prospective defense manufacturers. The project is a partnership between CCAT and IBP’s Manufacturing Capability Expansion and Investment Prioritization (MCEIP) Office.   

Connecticut Digital Model Initiative


The State of Connecticut is focused on supporting and expanding its significant defense technology research, development, and production capabilities. The State is working to ensure that the Connecticut supply chain is positioned to implement modern manufacturing tools to compete favorably against any manufacturing sector in the world. Adoption of digital manufacturing tools, specifically model-based definition (MBD), will be a future requirement for suppliers to meet cost and performance standards on next generation programs of record.

The State’s Chief Manufacturing Officer, Paul Lavoie, explains the value of the Digital Model Initiative at the state and national level here.

CONNSTEP, Connecticut’s NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), developed the Guide to Digital Transformation (right).

MBD introduction & possibilities


The main objective of this program is to help Connecticut small and medium sized defense suppliers adopt MBD digital manufacturing technologies through six pilot cases. This includes:

  1. Working with Connecticut OEMs in the propulsion, vertical lift and submarine sectors (the “sectors”) to select two supply chain partners through an open and competitive process for each sector for MBD adoption
  2. Facilitate MBD implementation and demonstration between OEMs and selected suppliers
  3. Document “lessons learned” and disseminate MBD adoption pathways to other Connecticut defense suppliers

MBD Training Videos

MBD file handling tutorial

Creation of CNC toolpaths in Solidworks

Inspection programming in Geomagic

Automated First Article Inspection

Automated CMM programming

Benefits of MBD for CNC programming

Video Resources

Machine Tool Probing

Automated Metrology in Solidworks
Origin CheckMate

In Solidworks: CAD, CAM and CMM

Creation of QIF Dataset

Evaluation of Quality Results

Creation of Technical Data Package SIEMENS

This product was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation. The grant was awarded to the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development for use during the Digital Model Initiative and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Defense. The U.S. Department of Defense makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership.