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DMDII Awards $7 Million in Manufacturing Grants

Oct. 20, 2015
Digital Manufacturing & Design Innovation Institute funds five collaborate projects aiming to increase both speed and efficiency in 21st century manufacturing processes.
Digital Manufacturing & Design Innovation Institute funds five collaborate projects aiming to increase both speed and efficiency in 21st century manufacturing processes.

After a year of work developing its state-of-the-art innovation lab in Chicago, the Digital Manufacturing & Design Innovation Institute(DMDII) has announced its first round of research awards.

Totally $7 million, the awards will fund five collaborative projects conducted by 14 DMDII partners that aim to advance manufacturing technology in three key areas: Advanced manufacturing Enterprise, Intelligent Machining, and Advanced Analysis.

Basically, it will provide 12-18 months of funding to dedicated teams of large, small, and medium-sized manufacturers, universities, and NGOs as they develop powerful new digital tools to increase both speed and efficiency in 21st century manufacturing processes.

"We are developing a 'digital thread' across all facets of the manufacturing process," said George Barnych, DMDII's Director of Research & Development Programs. "The first five awards begin to develop key technologies that will allow us to 'stitch together' the digital thread from the front end of design all the way through the production process and supply logistics."  

"This," he added, "is a major step in bringing together the best and the brightest from the private, public and academic sectors to reshape the landscape of manufacturing in our country."

DMDII's first five contract awards are as follows:

Structural Composites – Blade Multidisciplinary Design and Analysis - 14-01-06

Lead Organization: Green Dynamics Inc.

Other Organizations on this Team: MetaMorph Inc.; University of Delaware; Vanderbilt University; PTC, Inc.; MSC Software Corporation; Pennsylvania State University, Applied Research Laboratory

Partners will work together to integrate a suite of analysis tools under a common intuitive user interface specifically focused on wind turbines. Successful implementation of this software approach will reduce barriers to entry for smaller composite material developers and shorten cycle times for current manufacturers—all while providing a comprehensive cost and manufacturing model to prevent overruns.


Mind the Gap - Filling the Gap between CAD and CNC with Engineering Services - 14-02-02

Lead Organization: STEP Tools, Inc.

Other Organizations on this Team: Pennsylvania State University, Applied Research Laboratory; Vanderbilt University

The Mind the Gap project aims to develop and deliver cloud services to optimize and monitor computer numerical controlled (CNC) machining. The new services will operate on 3D digital models, which are easier to share and modify than traditional code-based models.

Automated Assembly Planning: From CAD model to Virtual Assembly Process - 14-02-04

Lead Organization: Oregon State University

Other Organizations on this Team: ESI North America

This project aims to develop a computational tool to automatically transform a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) assembly into a set of assembly instructions with as little initial user commitment as possible. Quick predictions of an assembly plan will provide feedback to both design and industrial engineers so that they can see how their decisions impact assembly time and cost. For manufacturing companies that choose to use the developed toolset, it could result in millions of dollars in savings.

Automatic Tolerancing of Mechanical Assemblies from STEP AP203: Completion of Adaptive Vehicle Make Tasks - 14-02-05

Lead Organization: Design Automation Lab, Arizona State University

This project will investigate algorithms to automate tolerance allocation of mechanical assemblies. This will include 1st order Geometric Dimension & Tolerancing (GD&T), which is based solely on geometric assemblablity, as well as partial support of 2nd order tolerancing, which is based on design intent or function of assemblies, including fit types and fasteners. This will result in lower product cost due to better tolerance control, lower scrap rate, and quicker product development time by reducing trial and error in tolerance allocation.

Intelligent Adaptive Machining Fixtures for Castings (IAMFixR) - 14-07-03

Lead Organization: Product Development & Analysis (PDA) LLC

Other Organizations on this Team: American Foundry Society; Design Automation Lab, Arizona State University; Steel Founders' Society of America

A collaboration between a metal casting contract manufacturer and an academic research lab, the goal of this project is to develop a set of methods and a software enabler, called "IAMFixR," to reduce the setup time for the machining of large castings and fabrications, and to virtually eliminate scrapping any of these high value parts. The team aims to incorporate the casting industry standard into a 3D model and use digital technology to capture the changing dimensions of features critical to machining operation for every part produced in a production environment.