MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


The Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity (LMP) is an interdepartmental laboratory in the School of Engineering with two major goals: 1) the development of the fundamental principles of manufacturing systems, processes, and machines, and 2) 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). 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 its second best year in 1997-98 with a research volume of $3.7 M. This is down slightly from $4M in 1995-96. A few projects contributed disproportionately to this volume. These included the work of Professor Ely Sachs (3D Printing), Professor David Trumper (Precision Engineering), Professor David Cochran (Production Systems Design), and Professor Sanjay Sarma (Automated Manufacturing)

The LMP faculty and staff provide many important manufacturing subjects at MIT ranging from machine and process design through manufacturing system design and analysis. In addition, we provide annual summer courses for industry in new process technology, triboligy, composites, precision engineering and manufacturing system design.

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 awards from Ford and Bosch. 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.

Professor Sanjay Sarma has obtained significant new funding from NSF and industry (Ford and Suzuki) in several important new areas of automated manufacturing, including a New Universal Fixturing Technology, and a Haptvc Interface for NC Tool Path Generation. He is also developing a new undergraduate subject ( 2.31) which integrates F.E.M. and C.A.D.

Professor David Trumper was honored this year by receiving MIT's Spira Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has also 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, 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 Emanuel Sachs has continued to maintain his primary focus on the Three Dimensional Printing project. One measure of the impact of this work is the continued success in commercializing the technology. At the present time there are six licensees for this technology in different fields of use. This year two new licenses have been issued: one to ExtrudeHone of Irwin, Pennsylvania for metal parts and tooling and one to AMP, Inc. of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for electrical connector applications. In addition, an option has been issued to TDK Corporation of Japan for some classes of electronic applications. Currently under negotiation is an option for the application of the technology to the fabrication of tungsten carbide cutting tools. 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 also co-director of the Leaders for Manufacturing Program, has recently completed a major national program to develop, with U.S. industry leaders, the national vision for the Next Generation Manufacturing System. This was a multi-agency sponsored effort conducted over the last three years. In addition, Professor Hardt continues to received steady support for his programs in Reconfigurable Tooling for Rapid Response Forming of Aerospace Structures.

Professor Alex Slocum was honored this year by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers for his outstanding contributions to Manufacturing Engineering with the prestigious Frederick Taylor Research Medal. Professor Slocum has also received 6 R&D 100 Awards in the past four years. Professor Slocum received continued support from the U.S. Naval Research Lab to study Lean and Agile Precision Machining. In addition, he receives significant support in various areas of Precision Machine Design, including ongoing support from Teradyne.

Professor Jung-Hoon Chun was acting director of the LMP during the spring term of this year and has taken on a new leadership role in the Manufacturing Institute, negotiating significant new research agreements with Korea and SVG. Professor Chun has received significant new funding from NSF on Micro-Droplet Deposition in Droplet Based Manufacturing, and continues to develop his new program on Continuous Casting Monitoring (based on a new gamma ray attenuation technique). He has also received new awards and continued support in the area of his Droplet Based Manufacturing.

Dr. Stanley B. Gershwin became a Fellow of the IEEE for "pioneering work and leadership in the development and implementation of system 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 Science Achievement in 1997. In addition, Dr. Gershwin has received continued support in the area of design and operation of manufacturing systems and he has received a significant 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 significant new funding from NSF in the area of Design for Manufacturing with Advanced Composite Materials. In addition, he continues to work with Boeing on the development of new forming technologies for advanced composites applications for commercial and HSCT type aircraft. Professor Gutowski published a book entitled "Advanced Composites Manufacturing" with John Wiley in 1997.

Stanley B. Gershwin, Timothy G. Gutowski

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98