Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity

The Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity (LMP) is an interdepartmental laboratory in the School of Engineering with three major goals:

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 (3DP), 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, which is often coordinated with industrial support, comes from a variety of agencies: Department of Defense (DOD), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Department of Energy (DOE).

The Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity enjoyed an excellent year in 2000–2001 with a research volume of $4M. A few projects contributed disproportionately to this volume. These included the work of Professor Ely Sachs (3D Printing), Professor David Cochran (Production Systems Design), and Professor David Trumper (Precision Engineering).

Research and Education Highlights, Awards

In the past year, we have seen significant new and/or continuing research programs being 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 Jung-Hoon Chun, who is the Co-Director of the Manufacturing Institute, is also actively involved in the Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA). Last year Professor Chun started two new courses for SMA, Manufacturing Physics I, and Business Fundamentals. SMA courses are presented in Singapore from MIT via distance learning. Professor Chun has also started, "The International 70-nm Initiative." This consortium is formed within the broader Advanced Planarization Consortium as part of the Manufacturing Institute. Professor Chun has been actively involved in the recruiting of industrial participation for these two consortia. From previous work for Silicon Valley Group (SVG), one patent has been issued in the area of Photo Resist Coating for Semi-conductor Manufacturing. Next year, Professor Chun will be on sabbatical.

Professor David Cochran's program in Production System Design continues to grow and to expand in new areas. This year, Professor Cochran captured important new funding from leading aerospace companies and the computer industry. This builds on his current very strong links with the automotive industry. In addition, Professor Cochran was promoted to Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

Dr. Stanley B. Gershwin, who is the Associate Director of the LMP, was recently honored by the Third International Aegean workshop on Analysis and Modeling for Manufacturing Systems, receiving the citation, "for his pioneering leadership of, and outstanding contributions to the field of Manufacturing Systems Engineering." Dr. Gershwin has continued his research on Wafer Fab Operations Modeling and Analysis and other important systems modeling areas and is currently actively involved in the Singapore-MIT Alliance as a SMA Associate.

Professor David Hardt has taken a principal leadership role as liaison faculty in manufacturing to the SMA. As part of his responsibilities, he has developed a MEng in Manufacturing degree program for Singapore. This highly integrated set of courses that cover topics from processing, equipment, automation, process control, systems and product design as well as basic business issues was introduced to Singapore by MIT faculty last summer. Professor Hardt has also expanded his research into new areas including Space Interferometry.

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. And, this year, Professor Nayfeh welcomed a new daughter to his family.

Professor Ely Sachs, whose 3D Printing and related activities continue to lead in the laboratory, has major projects to further apply and develop the 3D Printing process. These include: Distributed Design and Fabrication of Metal Parts by 3DP, 3DP for Automotive Tooling for Casting, 3DP of Integrated Ceramic Components, Prototyping and Manufacturing of Cutting Tool Inserts by 3DP, and Tooling-Free Manufacturing of Metal Matrix Composites. Professor Sachs will be on sabbatical for the academic year 2001–2002.

Last year Professor Sanjay Sarma, the Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Professor founded the Auto-ID 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. This consortium continues to grow with applications to inventory control, material tracking and reordering and material and product recycling. The center now has 30 sponsors and has started a sister center in the University of Cambridge, England. Professor Sarma has also continued his work in Computer Aided Design (CAD)/Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM)/Computer Numerical Control (CNC) and haptics. A new CAD/CAM system developed by his group is now in negotiation for licensing.

Professor Alex Slocum has been active in evolving precision engineering fundamentals for application to biomedical engineering challenges. Specifically he has been using the fact that repeatability is less costly than accuracy to create a fundamental new way to detect breast cancer. He has received current seed funding for this project from Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). His research work continues to grow in Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) with major projects sponsored by Asea Brown Boveri (ABB).

Professor Nam Suh stepped down as Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering this year and rejoined the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity. Last year, he was honored by the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden 2000, with a Doctor H.C. He also received the 2001 Mensforth International Gold Medal of the Institution of Electrical Engineers of the United Kingdom and also the first Hills Millennium International Award of the Institution of Engineering Designers of the United Kingdom in June 2001. He continues to lead the international development of the field of axiomatic design and this year, his new book, Axiomatic Design: Advances and Applications by the Oxford University Press, was released.

This year Professor David Trumper was on family leave and sabbatical. His research program has continued in the areas of Precision Motion Control and Systems. He has been awarded two patents in the last year and has filed disclosures in four new concepts during this time. He has also been selected as a recipient of the 3M Innovation Award. Last year, Professor Trumper was honored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) with the Leonardo Da Vinci Award and was also honored by MIT with the Spira Award for Excellence in Teaching.

This last year, Professor Timothy Gutowski served as panel chairman and co-author for an important new publication on Environmentally Benign Manufacturing (available at This study was based upon an international assessment of environmentally conscious behavior at leading manufacturing companies in Japan, the Europe and the United States, and was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. This work led to the development of a new graduate course at MIT entitled Environmentally Benign Manufacturing. Professor Gutowski's research has now expanded into Manufacturing System Design as well as studying the environmental impacts associated with manufacturing. He also continues his research on composite materials.

Timothy G. Gutowski

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