Stimulating industrial innovation at the ASU MADE scientific and technical center | So Good News


Manufacturing concepts being developed in Arizona State University labs will soon be on a direct path to industry application — also known as technology transfer — a much-needed boost to advancing Arizona’s manufacturing industry.

This feature is made possible by efforts at ASU’s Manufacturing, Automation and Data Engineering, or MADE, Center for Science and Technology. STC is supported through Arizona’s New Economy Initiative, an investment in ASU’s mission to drive the state’s future economic growth and sustainability through engineering and technology innovation and learning.

Designed to leverage the expertise of ASU faculty and expertise in establishing and maintaining industry partnerships, the MADE STC, located on the ASU Polytechnic Campus, facilitates collaboration to develop new manufacturing technologies that lead to new products that have the potential to impact industry operations and the competitiveness of US manufacturing. .

MADE’s first two projects were commissioned by PADT, Inc., a leading provider of digital modeling, product development and 3D printing products and services in Tempe, Arizona.

The first project aims to develop new technologies for the recycling and recycling of unused materials to optimize additive manufacturing processes. The second is to create AI-based software capabilities that predict the feasibility of new product designs. Although different, both projects seek to reduce costs, eliminate waste, and are on the fast track to commercialization.

Re-establishing US leadership in advanced manufacturing to meet current and future technological demands is one of the main motivators for technology transfer initiatives like this one.

“In the past few years, Arizona has seen a significant infusion of advanced manufacturing across all industry sectors,” said Binil Starley, the inaugural director of the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks, one of seven schools in the Ira A. Fulton School. ASU majoring in engineering. “STC provides a mechanism for companies to use the talent, infrastructure and expertise of universities.”

Joint investment in the future of production

PADT’s proposed projects align well with MADE’s core areas, which include technological science and engineering, robotics and automation, data analytics, cyber and AI.

PADT principal and co-owner Ray Chu defined the scope of both projects. Chu leads the company’s 3D printing and additive manufacturing services and also serves as project manager for both projects. He and his team of two other PADT engineers were paired with ASU faculty, allowing a collaborative space for ideas to evolve into concepts that could eventually be commercialized.

“We’ve worked with ASU for the past 20-plus years, from major projects to student research projects, and these projects are important because they’re designed to educate students and publish research papers,” says Chu. “However, STC projects are different as both parties contribute funding and technical expertise to accelerate the commercialization and growth of the additive manufacturing landscape.”

MADE will debut two projects from its portfolio

Keng Hsu, an associate professor in the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks, leads one of the two projects in his Manufacturing Innovation Lab. He and graduate researcher M. Faisal Riyad and postdoctoral research scientist Poo Han are working together on this effort.

Aimed at impacting the aerospace industry, the 12-month project aims to develop technology that can turn unused materials into useful raw materials for conventional MIG welding and other operations such as Directed Energy Deposition, or DED, metal additive manufacturing technology.

“Currently, waste or off-specification raw materials go through expensive or high-energy-intensive processes for recycling, or are stored in warehouses with no plans for further processing,” says Hsu. “This technology creates an energy-efficient and cost-effective process that is simple, safe and affordable.”

Both Hsu and Chu say that a multi-phase commercialization process is envisaged.

“We’re looking at three to five years of basic and engineering research and development to commercialize this kind of technology,” says Hsu. “On top of that, we’re working on engineering validation and product release.”

Hsu and his team aim to “get as much technical and economic knowledge as possible in the first phase” and move to the second phase and beyond based on what they learn.

The second of the two projects is led by Andi Wang and Hyungwoon Ko, associate professors in the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks. The project involves a group of students ranging from undergraduate participants to doctoral students in the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative.

Within 18 months, Wang and Co. will use AI-based software capabilities to “build an analysis process that automatically determines the likelihood of product design success or manufacturability before the manufacturing process begins,” says Wang.

This “additive manufacturing consultant” can reduce costs and waste caused by trial and error and benefit PADT’s additive manufacturing consulting service area.

“Based on real-world data, AI models can predict the level of roughness, smoothness or straightness of a surface. It also predicts porosity or other quality aspects of additive manufacturing products, such as lattice and topology-optimized structures,” write Wang et al. “Using predictive knowledge, a practitioner can select appropriate machines or materials and modify their designs for high-value additive manufacturing applications such as biomedical and aerospace applications before building a large batch of defects. This research seeks to find AI-based solutions that can make predictive predictions and achieve innately skilled products beyond traditional on-site monitoring and control and ex-situ evaluation.”

Chu says these are two areas where PADT is seeing demand in the industry.

“Our goal is to participate in them [STC] projects are really strengthening the manufacturing base in Phoenix and Arizona,” he says.

The future is now

Starly predicts that these two projects are just the beginning, and MADE anticipates starting a domino effect of opportunity and attracting more funding from private and federal sources.

“More than the technical success of RTD projects, the result is building relationships with companies, developing human capital and enabling new advanced technological ecosystems that connect small, medium and large businesses,” he says.

Organizations interested in working with the ASU STC can do so by submitting a proposal by Friday, December 16, 2022.


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