June 8, 2017

Realizing Next-Generation Smart Manufacturing

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s Discovery Park has launched its Big Idea Challenge, which provides funding and resources to teams made up of Purdue students and faculty who will conduct interdisciplinary research on global challenges and life-changing innovations.

On March 9, computer graphics technology professor Nathan Hartman and his team were awarded funding for their proposal, Realizing Next-Generation Smart Manufacturing. Their budget is $200,000 per year.

“We’re at the cusp of this fourth industrial revolution, which is the digitalization in manufacturing,” Hartman said.

His proposal aims to develop a multidisciplinary approach for next-generation manufacturing to create a competitive edge for U.S. manufacturers and to provide concise training for the new set of talent that will carry the digital revolution forward.  Discovery Park will fund the teams’ project for two years. The research team will be responsible for partnering with stakeholders thereafter.

“The world needs a cohesive approach to digitalization in manufacturing that builds across disciplines to reduce resource use and waste creation, better manage our workforce and economy, and create a competitive edge for U.S. manufacturers, which will, through diffusion, greatly improve global sustainability” Hartman said. “Manufacturing is a complex, sociotechnical ecosystem that requires a multidisciplinary approach with close coordination. It brings immense benefits, but it also creates challenges.”

 Some challenges in current manufacturing practices include increased environmental waste, energy usage, and raw material consumption. This team will approach the manufacturing industry by focusing on three key thrust areas: digitalization, validation, and workforce management. By bringing computing and information technology to the manufacturing industry, the aim is for better decisions and the elimination of waste of resources and time will emerge.

The project will help with economic value, industry competitiveness, and also provide training for the future generations of workers in the industry, Hartman said.

“We have an emerging education workforce development component, he said. “We’ve got things going on now outside of Purdue with Ivy Tech, middle schools and high schools, non-academic groups in the community, and we’re even contemplating some things with the elementary school level via the Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center.”

Within the multidisciplinary approach, the team’s strategies include making sub-groups to tackle different obstacles such as contacting stakeholders, meeting deadlines, writing two-page proposals, or contacting different networks of interest.

A Fall Purdue Manufacturing Forum will take place Oct. 17-18 at the Indiana Manufacturing Institute. The event will consist of multiple speakers, dinner, and other activities to give more insight into the work in progress. Government, community, and academic leaders will be in attendance. The official agenda is yet to be released.

The Realizing Next-Generation Manufacturing team includes professors from several different disciplines at Purdue.

* Nathan Hartman, Dauch Family Professor of Advanced Manufacturing & director of the Product Lifecycle Management Center of Excellence at Purdue.

* Elisa Bertino, professor of computer science, director of the CyberSpace Security Lab.

* Tom Brush, head and professor of management.

* Brett Crawford, assistant professor of technology, leadership and innovation.

* Daniel Delaurentis, professor of aeronautics and astronautics and President’s Fellow for Defense Initiatives.

* Abhi Deshmukh, James J. Solberg Head and Professor of Industrial Engineering.

* Mark French, professor of mechanical engineering technology.

* Tom Hacker, professor of computer and information technology.

* Timothy Ropp, clinical associate professor of aviation technology and director of the Aerospace and MRO Technology Innovation Center.

* Michael Sangid, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics and materials science engineering.

* John Sutherland, Fehsenfeld Family Head of Environmental and Ecological Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering.

* Michael Witt, associate professor of libraries.

* James Greenan, professor  and chair of career and technical education. 

Writer: Carolina Meraz, merazc@purdue.edu 

Source: Nathan Hartman, 765-496-6104, nhartman@purdue.edu 

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