Project DIAMOnD

Automation Alley, funded by Oakland and Macomb counties, has created the Project DIAMOnD to address the urgent need to move companies into the digital manufacturing age of Industry 4.0 as fast as possible to help improve our region’s manufacturing agility and response to future disruptions. 

Oakland and Macomb Manufacturers: Apply Now!

The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly reshaping and accelerating the digital transformation of the manufacturing sector. As businesses are forced to change and adapt, they are finding new ways to get the job done during these uncertain times—and Industry 4.0 technologies are leading the way. 

Automation Alley, funded by Oakland and Macomb counties, has created the Project DIAMOnD—which stands for Distributed, Independent, Agile, Manufacturing On-Demand—program to address the urgent need to move companies into the digital manufacturing age of Industry 4.0 as fast as possible to help improve our region’s manufacturing agility and response to future disruptions. 

Manufacturers accepted into the program will receive:

  • Industry 4.0 Equipment: participating companies will receive a production part capable 3D printer valued at more than $20,000 at no-cost. 
  • Strategic Guidance: on how to transform from legacy operations to digital manufacturing.
  • An Industry 4.0 Assessment: outlining where their business stands today and what digital opportunities best fit their needs. 
  • Connections and introductions: to state-of-the art vendors and applied research that can help them along their path to Industry 4.0. 
  • A financial investment: will be granted to purchase Industry 4.0 and state-of-the art digital technologies.

Does my company qualify?

To qualify, companies must be a small or medium sized manufacturer residing in Oakland or Macomb County. Deadline to apply for grant funding is December 6, 2020.

Apply today!


Oakland County Virtual Info Session 

Macomb County Virtual Info Session 

Building a Resilient and Flexible Supply Chain

Building a Business around 3D Printing: Tactical Application of Additive Manufacturing

Why this and why now?

The COVID-19 pandemic led to an urgent and massive need for PPE and ventilators. The unanticipated need, coupled with the inability to quickly ramp up production, contributed to government quarantines until such time that the health care system could get stocked with resources as well as build the capacity to handle an onslaught of patients. This program will address this problem by helping position our region as an agile, digital-ready essential source of manufactured goods in times of national crisis.


We understood that as a grant recipient we may need to fulfill PPE orders placed by Oakland County and/or Automation Alley.  But what is meant by non-PPE orders placed by Automation Alley?  What does Automation Alley intend to cover with this language? 
Automation Alley intends to use this equipment to generate revenues for its grantees via orders from non-PPE types of components. We will try to procure business from other companies that might want to produce parts on this network. Our objective is to make sure grantees are suitably compensated and the compensation will be attractive enough to keep the equipment up and running. We’re still figuring out the details.  

Does Oakland County and/or Automation Alley already have a planned order for personal protective equipment?   
We don’t have a planned order, but we will be running test orders. At some time, a planned order might come depending on needs.  

What is the anticipated bandwidth necessary to provide the network access? 
Any wifi or ethernet network using standard broadband connectivity will work.  

Will you please describe what would be considered a transaction on the portal? And the fee for a standard transaction? 
We have not defined this yet. The transaction fee will be commensurate with providing the service. It will be designed to be similar to or lower than what you might pay for credit card validation.  

What is the size of the Mark 2 printer and where is the best placement for it? 
Size is 23x13x14, similar to a microwave. It will require a desk or some kind of platform to sit on. Electrical is normal standard wall outlet preferable with a surge protector power strip.  

Are there any necessary venting requirements for the Mark 2? 
The printer does not have ventilation requirements.  

If there is a PPE order, will I have to pay for the material and other associated costs? 
If it is material you have already received with the printer, you will use that. If it is material you have purchased, you will be compensated for the cost along with a reasonable profit that is yet to be determined. We will update this FAQ when that profit amount or mechanism is determined.  

What happens to the technology after the 3-year required period to be on the network? 
Yours to keep.  

How soon after receiving my pre-approval will I get my contract? 
You can expect the contract through DocuSign after your technology has been identified.   

Can I use this printer for purposes other than making PPE? 
Yes, our hope is that this technology will help further your business.  

I’m not interested in receiving equipment, but I’d like to participate.  
At this phase we are working on deploying technology. We will look for opportunities for service providers to participate in the project in the future.  

What will I need to provide to my CPA for tax season?  
Each company’s tax situation is unique to them so we recommend that you discuss this with your accountant to ensure that you get the best advice possible for your specific situation.  

Is there a deadline to sign the contract? 
Not explicitly, but you can't get equipment until you sign it and we will be sending the equipment on a first come first serve basis after getting a signed agreement. There are limited number of printers. So, please send in your signed agreement as soon as is convenient. 

My company works with the DoD and therefore we have specific security requirements. Allowing the printer on our network would violate NIST 800-171. We would need a separate VPN. What should we do? 
You can find information about Markforged security at If you have further questions, please schedule a support session here.  

“Grantee shall be suitably compensated by Oakland County for PPE orders placed by Oakland County and by Grantor for non-PPE orders placed by Grantor.” - This is open-ended, can you please elaborate?  
Yes, at this point this is a program under development, including how much the compensation will be. Our objective is to either provide all the material used, or cover any costs, with a reasonable profit - which is yet to be determined.  

The contract mentions providing written reports. What kind of reports will we be providing and how frequently?  
We do not expect there to be a lot of reporting. Most of the information that is required is expected to be accessible through the network that the printer is connected to.  

What is the readiness assessment and how will I receive this?  
You will receive your assessment by email. The purpose of the assessment is to analyze the company in the following ways: 1. How well is the organization's purpose being represented by the strategy and executed in the day-to-day work? 2. What is the ability of the company to reinvest digitally? (if you provide financials) and 3. What challenges and opportunities may your company face from a technology perspective? From those viewpoints, we provide analysis and recommend three critical priorities for the company to implement. The recommendations are to be achievable and to resolve systemic challenges or bolster the ability to seize opportunities. All information including results is kept confidential and not shared with anyone without your consent. 

“All technology provided by Grantor must remain on the Grantor’s Network for a minimum of three (3) years after it is received.” What network is this referring to? 
Each printer that is a part of the grant agreement will be securely connection to the Automation Alley Project DIAMOnD network using the Grantee’s local network. 

“Grantee shall be responsible after the end of the one-year warranty period to obtain a warranty and any necessary support or license for the technology, directly from the manufacturer or Grantor.” What is the expense of this?  

  • Mark 2: $1,600/year 
  • X7: $5,600/year 

There appears to be a lot of open-ended questions in the grantee agreement that may turn out to be difficult to agree to in the future, I’m not comfortable with this at the moment. 
Yes, we understand and our objective is to build a marketplace so that the equipment you get as part of this grant is a revenue generating asset. As we go about building this marketplace, some of the terms and conditions may not be foreseeable by us. This includes any fees that we may have to charge to keep the marketplace sustainable. To alleviate any risk, or sense of being locked in to a long-term agreement, we have enabled this agreement to be terminated at any time for any reason with a 30 days' notice, as long as the equipment is returned in working condition. 

Section 18 describes access to records for audits. Do we need to provide access for all items printed, or just PPE items printed? Is the audit limited to the printer?  
The printer is likely outside the scope of the agreement and would not be subject to an audit.  

What happens if we have to relocate in the middle of the three-year contract? Are we attached to Oakland County?  
In the event that a company moves outside of the County, they are no longer in compliance with Grantee certification 3 and will need to be terminated from participation.  

Contract says that you need employee dishonesty coverage equal to the amount of the grant, how much is that? 

  • Markforged Mark 2 grant: $19,925 
  • Markforged X7 grant: $61,935 
  • Light Guide System: $22,900 

What risks are the cyber liability coverage addressing? 
Please review the language of the agreement with your insurance agent for specifics on what cyber liability may or may not cover. 

Since I do not have any employees, what is the employee dishonesty coverage addressing? The grant already covers explicit use for the machine received. 
This is exempt for sole-proprietors. 

Any clarification on the commercial vehicle insurance? I do not have any commercial vehicles. Is this for my property or Automation Alley? 
This would apply only if you have commercial vehicles. 

Is there a minimum amount of material that has to be stored and available at all times for PPE? 
Yes, the one spool of free material provided for PPE. 

What software programs are needed to set up the files for the print and to slice the file for the gcode needed to print the part? 
The software used is Eiger and it is free.  

Will you be monitoring all print files that are printed outside of the DIAMOnD program? 

What are the native file types that the printer can read and is the push software cloud based or on premise? 
The native file type for the slicing software, known as Eiger, is converted from and STL file that can be generated from any solid modeling software. 

How do you envision individual companies marketing their participation in the Diamond Program? 
Initially on their own, later in phase two we expect to have platform functionality for this. Undefined at the moment. 

How will scheduling occur for 3D printing between PPE printing and our own prints? 
PPE will wait for the current print to complete and will print next. 

Are we able to grow the network of printers by purchasing additional ourselves? 
Yes, please do! 

Can I have more than one employee on the Automation Alley portal for technology training?  
Yes, email us the names and emails of the employees you want to grant access to the portal.  

Oakland CountyMacomb County 

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