MIT Reports to the President 1998-99


The Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity (LMP) is an interdepartmental laboratory in the School of Engineering with two major goals: the development of the fundamental principles of manufacturing systems, processes, and machines, and the education of engineering leaders in these areas. 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. There are nine LMP consortia: 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, and the Composites Manufacturing Program. In addition LMP works closely with the Leaders for Manufacturing Program (Research Group 5 -- Design and Operation of Manufacturing Systems), and the Lean Aerospace Initiative (Factory Operations Group and Organizations and People Group). 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 1998—99 with a research volume of $4 M. 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 Sanjay Sarma (Automated Manufacturing)

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

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 by enthusiasm by our students. These courses allow students to develop manufacturing systems at local Boston area manufacturers.

Professor Sanjay Sarma has been honored by MIT as a Cecil and Ide Green Career Development Professor. His research effort has made significant progress in a number of important areas including, a new haptic device which allows the computer user to physically interact with a virtual representation of the world, a new and very efficient toolpath generation algorithm for 5 axis machine tools, and a New Universal Fixturing Technology, which promises to convert a machine tool into a rapid prototyping device. He is also developing a new undergraduate subject ( 2.31) which integrates F.E.M. and C.A.D.

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 this area he has just received a new NSF award for "Long Stroke, Fast Tool Servo for Diamond Turning of Asymmetric Optics." He has also received several grants and continued funding in important areas of precision engineering, including; Magnetic Levitation Stage for Electron Beam Lithography, Magnetic Suspension Control of Precision Motion, High Speed Diamond Turning, Noncontact Processing of Fibers, Beams, Webs and Plates, and High Density Linear Motor Development. Professor Trumper continues to innovate his popular course 2.737 Mechatronics.

Professor Ely Sachs, whose 3-D Printing and related activities continue to lead in the laboratory, has received several new 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, 3D Printing of Connector Shells and Yttria Patterns 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, who is currently on sabbatical, has stepped down as co-director of the Leaders for Manufacturing Program. After three years of leadership of the LFM program he will turn his attention to several new areas of manufacturing education.. At the present Professor Hardt is acting as the principal liaison faculty member in manufacturing to the MIT/ Singapore Alliance. Here he has developed an MEng in Manufacturing degree program for Singapore. This 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. It will be first delivered in Singapore by MIT 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 was honored by M.I.T. this year as the Martin Luther King Outstanding Faculty Member for his work mentoring minority students and he was chosen to be one of four MacVicar Fellows at MIT for 1999-20000. Professor Slocum has continued his work with industry to develop new types of machine tools and production equipment. He has also started a strong effort in MEMs, with the development of the NanoGate for control of fluid flow at the molecular level which is being funded by NSF.

Professor Jung-Hoon Chun has become Co-Director of the Manufacturing Institute where he has worked on new projects with Korea and SVG. Professor Chun has also received significant 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.

Dr. Stanley B. Gershwin served as Acting Director of the LMP for the spring terms of this year. Recently he 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."

This year Professor Samir Nayfeh joined the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity as an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering. Professor Nayfeh is conducting 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 Timothy Gutowski who was on sabbatical for the spring of 1998—99 has received significant new funding from NSF in the area of Design for Manufacturing with Advanced Composite Materials. His work on new forming technologies is currently in the production demonstration phase at a major commercial aircraft company and he continues to develop his graduate course 2.810 for engineering and business students.

Timothy G. Gutowski

MIT Reports to the President 1998-99