University of Maine

Green Engineering and Materials (GEM) Research Factory of the Future (FoF)

Project at a Glance

Orono, ME


SMRT & Grimshaw Architects

Project Type


Project Overview

  • Glulam and cross laminated timber (CLT) addition housing a first-of-its-kind test bed for large format digital flexible manufacturing
  • Extensive coordination while working directly adjacent to the active Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) of sensitive operations
  • Incorporation of robotics structure and tolerances for meticulous implementation in the construction phase

The University of Maine (UMaine) is expanding its ASCC with the GEM FoF—a revolutionary test bed for large format digital flexible manufacturing. The addition will support a new era of Industry 4.0, AI-enabled, large-scale additive, subtractive and hybrid digital manufacturing through technologies such as artificial intelligence, high-performance computing and large 3D printers and subtractive systems.

Research in the GEM FoF will focus on the manufacture and testing of large systems made from biobased and other advanced materials, specifically the integration of highly flexible (e.g. robotic, interchangeable end effectors) digital manufacturing processes with non-contact sensing and real-time, closed-loop feedback. The facility will foster collaboration with industry partners and training of the next generation of manufacturing specialists with spaces including a conference learning center, research-collaborative learning spaces, welcome center and staff offices.

Located between UMaine’s ASCC, Offshore Wind Laboratory and the Collins Center for the Arts, the superstructure will be comprised of primarily glulam and CLT mass timber materials. Early phases include analysis for integration of other sustainable products and systems, including solar and wood fiber insulation.