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University of Delaware to Research intelligent, Automated Manufacturing Processes

09 August 2002

UD-CCM has received $1.3 million from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to continue researching intelligent, automated manufacturing processes through its Advanced Materials Intelligent Processing Center (AMIPC).

Initially established in 1997, the AMIPC research is focused on the use of modeling, sensing, and control tools and their implementation to improve and automate composite manufacturing processes such as LCM, CIRTM, VARTM and elevated temperature VARTM. Using UD-CCM’s virtual mold filling software called Liquid Injection Molding Simulation or LIMS (developed under the AMIPC), intelligent manufacturing systems can be constructed after performing various “what if” scenarios. For example, users can vary the geometry, the mesh, the injection parameters, and the permeability of preforms as well as resin characteristics.

The AMIPC program has translated into several technology transitions to UD-CCM industrial partners. In the last year alone, six beta-sites have been established in the U.S., allowing complete automation of the VARTM process. ""Small companies find the SMARTMolding system developed at UD-CCM an enabling technology to penetrate the VARTM market. Large companies and firms, with already existing know-how, rely on the system for automation and QA/QC,"" says Dr. Dirk Heider, UD-CCM's Assistant Director. Dr. Heider leads the technology transition efforts and sees an increasing demand in the future. ""Commercial and military VARTM applications are just starting to emerge with automation a key for repeat manufacturing; and this is the solution we provide.""

Dr. Suresh Advani, UD-CCM Associate Director and professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. John W. Gillespie, Jr., Director of UD-CCM and professor of Materials Science & Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Delaware, are the principal investigators for the AMIPC, a designated ONR Center of Excellence. UD-CCM affiliated faculty collaborating with Advani and Gillespie on AMIPC projects include Dr. James L. Glancey, Associate Professor, Bioresources Engineering, as well as Dr. Balaji Panchapakesan and Dr. Daniel S. Weile, both Assistant Professors in Electrical and Computer Engineering. “This research program has made it possible to incorporate the fundamental science base into composite manufacturing processes and move away from the expensive ""trial and error"" manufacturing approaches, thus enabling the accelerated insertion of composites for the U.S. Navy and other commercial applications,” says Dr. Advani.





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