MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


The Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity (LMP) is an interdepartmental laboratory in the School of Engineering directed by Prof. Timothy G. Gutowski (Mechanical Engineering). It was established in 1977 to conduct engineering research in manufacturing and to develop the fundamentals of manufacturing science. The primary research focus is on design, analysis, and control of manufacturing processes and systems.

The mission of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity is to be a leader in the development and application of manufacturing technology to improve the manufacturing enterprise. The key intellectual components of this mission are developed through a coordinated program of teaching and research in the following areas: the development of new process technology; the integration of process knowledge into product design; the integration of the process into manufacturing system design and operation.

The outputs of the laboratory are engineering leaders for industry and academia, as well as new technologies, methodologies and knowledge for the improvement of the manufacturing enterprise.

The faculty of the LMP work closely with industry, primarily through industrial consortia and projects. These include the Production System Design Program, the Precision Engineering Group, the 3-D Printing Consortium, the Reconfigurable Tooling Program, the Droplet-Based Manufacturing Consortium, the Continuous Casting Monitoring Program, the Tribology Program, the Microcellular Plastics Program, the Composites Manufacturing Program, the Leaders for Manufacturing Program (Research Group 5 -- Design and Operation of Manufacturing Systems), and the Lean Aircraft Initiative. There are various projects with individual companies. A significant portion of the lab's research is funded by the U.S. Government (DOD, NSF, NASA, DOE), often with an industrial consortium.


The Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity enjoyed a very good year with a research volume of $3.4 M. This constitutes our second best year, but down 15% from last year. 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 David Trumper (Precision Engineering), and Professor David Hardt (Reconfigurable Tooling).


The research efforts of the LMP faculty have again been recognized nationally. This year Professor Alex Slocum won four prestigious R&D 100 Awards! This is also the third year in a row that he has won this award. The R&D 100 award, is given by R & D Magazine for the 100 most technologically significant products developed for the year. This year four awards were bestowed upon Slocum. They are; 1) "TurboTool Ultra-High Speed Spindle, 2) " Machining Variation Analysis", 3)"ShieldBeam Contactor" and 4) "Kinematic Docking System". Last year he received the award for his "Self Compensating Hydrostatic Bearings". The year before that the faculty of the LMP won two of these awards. These were given to Professor Alex Slocum for his "Replicated Internal Shear Damper" and to Professor EmanuelSachs for his invention of the Three-Dimensional Printing Process.

Dr. Stanley B. Gershwin became a Fellow of the IEEE For "pioneering work and leadership in the development and implementation of systems and control approach to manufacturing." He also shared Honorable Mention in the INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences) Edelman Award Competition for Management ScienceAchievement.

This year Professor Timothy Gutowski published a book entitled "Advanced Composites Manufacturing" with John Wiley.

Again this year one of our students, Nathan Kane, won the highly esteemed Lemelson Prize for invention. Last year the award was won by David Levy, also a student in the LMP. Both students work with Professor Alex Slocum.


In the past year several significant new and/or continuing research programs were funded, and several new educational initiatives were started:

Professor David Cochran has successfully launched a significant new program in "Production System Design". This program has captured important new funding from industry, including major awards from Ford. In addition Professor Cochran initiated two new courses in production system design at both the undergraduate and the graduate level, 2.812 and 2.82

Professor Sanjay Sarma has obtained significant new funding from NSF in two important areas; Computer Integrated Manufacturing, and Reference-Free Part Encapsulation. He is also developing a new undergraduate subject ( 2.31) which integrates F.E.M. and C.A.D.

Professor David Trumper has received several new grants and continued funding in important areas of precision engineering. These include; Magnetic Levitation Stage for Electron Beam Lithography, Magnetic Suspension Control of Precision Motion, Diamond Turning, and Noncontact Processing of Fibers, Beams, Webs and Plates,

Professor Ely Sachs has started several new efforts related to 3D Printing and solid free form fabrication including; Design Automation, Low-Cost, High Performance Tooling by 3D Printing, Structural Materials by 3d Printing, and Three-Dimensional Geometry Generation by 3D Printing.

Professor David Hardt has received continued support for his program on Reconfigurable Tooling for Rapid Response Forming of Aerospace Structures.

Professor Alex Slocum has received continued support from the U.S. Naval Research Lab to study Lean and Agile Precision Machining, in addition he has significant support in various areas of Precision Machine Design.

Professor Jung-Hoon Chun continues to develop his new program on Continuous Casting Monitoring; (this is based on a new gamma ray attenuation technique), and he has received new awards and continued support in the area of his uniform metal droplet process.

Professor Nam Suh has received continued industrial support in the area of microcellular plastics.

Dr. Nanaji Saka has received continued NSF funding in the area of Lasar Raman Microprobe Spectroscopy.

Dr. Stanley Gershwin has received continued support in the area of design and operation of manufacturing systems and he has received asignificant new award in the area of Wafer Fab Operations: Modeling, Analysis, and Design (funded jointly by NSF and the Semiconductor Research Corporation).

Professor Timothy Gutowski has received continued support in thearea of Advanced Composites Forming from NSF and Boeing. He has alsoreceived new support in the area software development for costmodeling. Professor Gutowski received two patents this year forinnovations on the double diaphragm forming process.

In addition to several machines which we have recently acquired through the efforts of our faculty ( Coordinate Measuring Machine, Water Jet Cutting Machine, Bridgeport CNC/ Manual Lathe, Thermoforming Machine, Teleconferencing Station, state-of-the-art Eight Axis Hexel Hexapod Milling Machine) we have also received a new 3-axis CNC/manual Milling Machine from the Bridgeport Milling Machine Company this year.

Timothy G. Gutowski, Stanley B. Gershwin

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97