MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000


The Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity (LMP) is an interdepartmental laboratory in the School of Engineering with three major goals: the development of the fundamental principles of manufacturing systems, processes, and machines; the application of those principles to manufacturing enterprises; and the education of engineering leaders. With 11 faculty and senior research staff and 70 graduate students, the laboratory conducts research in the areas of design, analysis, and control of manufacturing processes and systems.

This research is conducted through industrial consortia, sponsored research projects, and government grants. LMP’s major areas of interest include: Production System Design, Precision Engineering, Three Dimensional Printing, Rapid Autonomous machining, Reconfigurable Tooling, Droplet-Based Manufacturing, Automatic Identification, Continuous Casting Monitoring, Machine Elements and Systems, Tribology , Microcellular Plastics, and Composites Manufacturing. In addition LMP works closely with the Materials Processing Center, the Leaders for Manufacturing Program, and the Lean Aerospace Initiative. Many of our research projects are also with individual companies. In total, the laboratory works with about 50 different companies worldwide. Our government support comes from a variety of agencies including; DOD, NSF, NASA and DOE, and is often coordinated with industrial support.

The Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity enjoyed an excellent year in 1999–00 with a research volume of $3.7 million. A few projects contributed disproportionately to this volume. These included the work of Professor Ely Sachs (3D Printing), Professor David Cochran (Production Systems Design), Professor Sanjay Sarma (Automated Manufacturing) and Professor David Trumper (Precision Engineering).

The Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity hosted an international symposium whose theme was exploring New Manufacturing Processes and Systems entitled "The Future of Manufacturing: New Development in Technology and System Design" on April 18 and 19, 2000, at the University Park Hotel in Cambridge. It was attended by participants from industry and academia from many parts of the world.


In the past year we have seen the creation of the 1200 sq. ft. Ralph E. Cross CAD/CAM Instructional Classroom and Laboratory, which will provide state-of-the-art, hands-on experience linking the CAD/CAM System and the CNC tools within the LMP machine shop. Significant new and/or continuing research programs were funded, and several new educational initiatives were started. In addition our faculty and staff continue to be honored with awards and recognition by their colleagues

Professor David Cochran’s successful new program in Production System Design continues to grow at a significant rate. This program has captured important new funding from industry, including major new funding from Ford at several sites, in the area of "Lean, Cellular Manufacturing System Design." In addition Professor Cochran’s two new courses in production system design at both the undergraduate and the graduate level, 2.812 and 2.82 have been greeted with enthusiasm by our students. These courses allow students to develop manufacturing systems at local Boston area manufacturers.

This year Professor Sanjay Sarma, the Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Professor founded the Auto-I.D. Center with his colleagues, Dr. David Brock and Professor Kai-Yeung Siu. The center’s mission is to create an intelligent infrastructure to connect physical objects to the internet and to each other. Professor Sarma was recognized for his teaching and research contributions through early promotion to Associate Professor.

Professor David Trumper who was honored by ASME with the Leonardo D’Avinci Award and was honored by MIT with the Spira Award for Excellence in Teaching has developed a new high speed lathe for turning asymmetric parts. In the last year, Professor Trumper has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. His research has continued in high-speed motion control for rapid production of ophthalmic lenses using a novel fast tool servo, and in magnetic suspension of flexible workpieces for noncontact processing such as heat treatment, coating, or painting. His group has also started a new project to develop novel hybrid axes for meso-scale machining. An initial application of the developed technology will be for the rapid production of dental restorations. Professor Trumper has continued to develop his courses in Digital Control and Mechatronics.

Professor Ely Sachs, whose 3-D Printing and related activities continue to lead in the laboratory, has received several new research awards: Three Dimensional Printing and Integrated Ceramic Components for Electronics, Three Dimensional Printing of End Use Metal Parts with Fine Powers, and Prototyping and Manufacturing of Cutting Tool Inserts by 3D Printing. In addition he continues his work in the following areas: Design Automation, Low-Cost, High Performance Tooling by 3D Printing, Structural Materials by 3D Printing, Three-Dimensional Geometry Generation by 3D Printing, Automotive Tooling for Casting, as well as the Distributed Design and Fabrication of Metal Parts and Tooling by 3D Printing. Currently Professor Sachs is serving as a designated Professor for the department of Mechanical Engineering with responsibility to revise and integrate the undergraduate teaching of Design and Manufacturing. In addition, Professor Sachs is developing a new important course on the Development of Manufacturing Processes and Equipment (2.815).

Professor David Hardt has taken a principal leadership role as liaison faculty in manufacturing to the MIT/Singapore Alliance and to the concept of distance learning in general. He has developed an MEng in Manufacturing degree program for Singapore, which will be a highly integrated set of courses that cover topics from processing, equipment, automation, process control, systems and product design as well as basic business issues. These courses are being delivered in Singapore by MIT faculty in July 2000. Later, a revised version will likely be offered to MIT students as well. In addition, Professor Hardt has recently successfully demonstrated his research on Reconfigurable Tooling for Rapid Response Forming of Aerospace Structures to industry.

Professor Alex Slocum, who was honored by MIT last year as the Martin Luther King Outstanding Faculty Member for his work mentoring minority students and was chosen to be one of four MacVicar Fellows at MIT for 1999—2000, is currently on sabbatical.

Professor Jung-Hoon Chun who is the Co-Director of the Manufacturing Institute is responsible for developing several new projects with Korea and SVG. Professor Chun has also received funding from NSF on Micro-Droplet Deposition in Droplet Based Manufacturing (DBM). This work has led to a significant new process for electronics packaging with 7 worldwide licensees. In addition, other applications of DBM are being licensed in such areas as metal tooling, rapid prototyping, metal injection molding and thermal spray coating applications. He also continues to develop his new "CASTSCAN" Program based on high-energy X-ray tomographic imaging. The focus of the program is to study the mold filling process for lostfoam casting for automotive applications. His undergraduate course on Engineering Management, which is very successful, has recently been expanded to including graduate students. In addition Professor Chun is very active in the Singapore-MIT Alliance. This summer he delivered a new course in Singapore.

Dr. Stanley B. Gershwin who is the Associate Director of the LMP recently became a Fellow of the IEEE for "pioneering work and leadership in the development and implementation of system and control approach to manufacturing." Dr. Gershwin has received continued support and new awards in several important areas of design and operation of manufacturing systems including "Wafer Fab Operation Models,: Analysis, and Design and Distributed" and "Collaborative Supply Chain Decision Making in Electronic Commerce."

Professor Samir Nayfeh is developing significant new research in precision machine design, mechanical power transmission, machine dynamics, and control. He is initiating an effort to develop the automated factory of the future following the open-source model that has been so successful in the complex software that holds the Internet together.

Professor Nam Suh was honored this year by the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden 2000, with a Doctor H.C. He continues to lead the international development of the field of axiomatic design and this year published "Axiomatic Design: Advances and Applications" by the Oxford University Press.

This year Professor Timothy Gutowski served as panel chairman for an NSF/DOE sponsored effort to investigate Environmentally Benign Manufacturing worldwide. He offered a new graduate course entitled, "Manufacturing Systems and People" and he continues his research on composite materials.

Timothy G. Gutowski

MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000