NIST Advanced Technology Program
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Focused Program Competition 97-02
Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Technology


NOTE: From 1994-1998, the bulk of ATP funding was applied to specific focused program areas—multi-year efforts aimed at achieving specific technology and business goals as defined by industry. ATP revised its competition model in 1999 and opened Competitions to all areas of technology. For more information on previously funded ATP Focused Programs, visit our website at

Program Manager: J.C. Boudreaux; 301-975-3560; fax 301-926-9524

Program Goals

The major challenge facing the U.S. light vehicle industry is the ability to respond to highly volatile and fragmented market demand by rapidly launching new product models in a manner that is profitable in low volumes. The U.S. light vehicle industry consists of the Big Three automakers and their first, second, and third tier suppliers. Companies that produce the machine tools, dies, jigs, fixtures, and other related metalworking equipment used in motor vehicle manufacturing are considered to be second tier suppliers. The manufacturing processes are concentrated in the supplier community. Fifty percent of the value in American vehicles is added by suppliers, and that percentage is rising. Unfortunately, lean production strategies and price-based competition make funding for research and development an almost unheard-of luxury for suppliers. This program will mine the lode of process expertise in the Big Three, the motor vehicle supplier industry, and research community to identify and develop innovative technical solutions to the business challenge of increasing productivity and reducing time-to-market of U.S. manufacturers in the highly competitive global marketplace.

The domestic oligopoly that existed for the U.S. automobile industry up through the early 1970's has evolved into a globally competitive open market. In order for the U.S. automobile manufacturers and their suppliers to remain competitive, they need to improve their capacity utilization, improve quality, reduce operating expenditures through improvements in manufacturing technology and productivity, and reduce their overhead expenses. The current competitive climate has led the automobile manufacturers to re-define their relationship with their suppliers. In the past, the relationship could be described as arms-length, market based, short term, and adversarial. The Big Three brought in suppliers late in the design process. Competing suppliers bid on the provided blueprints. At that point, suppliers could do little to improve the design, which may have been difficult and expensive to manufacture. Contracts were awarded on an annual basis covering the model year. The Big Three are now working with their suppliers earlier in the new product development process to lower costs and increase the speed to market. The trend now is for more of the engineering and systems development work to be pushed down into a smaller, but more technically capable, supplier base with specific goals being defined for cost, quality, timing, product features, and productivity increases. The contracts now tend to be longer term, usually awarded for the life of the vehicle model.

Business Goals

Industry goals for cost sharing this program are to (1) reduce manufacturing and capital equipment cost of introducing a new vehicle model by an order of magnitude, (2) reduce the time to market from the current U.S. industry standard of 42 to 48 months to 24 to 36 months, and (3) increase the global competitiveness of U.S. firms by strengthening their ability to team with suppliers.

While the program focuses on motor vehicle manufacturing, the manufacturing processes and technology to be developed are applicable to many other sectors as well. Improvements in machining, tooling, and assembly are likely to directly impact the metal furniture and fixtures, primary metals, fabricated metal products, electrical and non-electrical machinery, transportation, and precision instruments industries. Hence, the technology developed by this program has the potential for broad diffusion throughout American manufacturing, with ensuing wide spread benefits.

Technical Goals

This program will develop (1) specific technical improvements in manufacturing processes and process monitoring and control, (2) flexible, reconfigurable equipment to produce diverse product families, and (3) agile manufacturing systems to permit rapid, low-cost product conversion and efficient equipment re-utilization.

Providing designers with new technical options and an enlarged, but predictable, process horizon will enable innovative product designs. Agile manufacturing systems encourage the effective re-utilization of capital equipment to produce a diverse family of high-quality products, and the rapid and accurate translation of designs into production.

Economic Impact

The success of the Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Technology focused program will significantly improve the global competitiveness of the U.S. motor vehicle industry. The automotive manufacturing industry forms the core of the nation's industrial strength. In a typical year, the industry generates one-sixth of all U.S. manufacturers' shipments of durable goods and consumes 30 percent of all the iron, 15 percent of all the steel, 25 percent of all the aluminum, and 75 percent of all the natural rubber purchased by all industries in the United States. On average, every one dollar of manufacturing input in the United States allocated to producing motor vehicles adds two and one half dollars to the economy. At the retail level in 1995, sales of motor vehicles exceeded $259 billion, 3.6 percent of the nation's gross domestic product--the broadest measure of the nation's economic output.

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reports that in 1995, the automotive industry (Standard Industrial Classification 371 "Motor Vehicles and Equipment") accounted for 9 percent of all the private industrial employment provided by all manufacturers of durable goods in the United States. BEA data shows that industry firms as defined by SIC 371 directly employed 899,000 American workers in 1995. Employees in this SIC code earned compensation totaling $60 billion--equal to 12 percent of the total paid by all manufacturers of durable goods.

When all the establishments that make up the motor vehicle industry are added to establishments of all related industries, it becomes clear how pervasive the economic impact of this focused program will be on the U.S. economy. The American Automobile Manufacturers Association estimates that in 1992, there were a combined 589,000 manufacturing and service sector establishments within the U.S. that derive their business directly or indirectly to motor vehicles. Overall, these establishments provided jobs for an estimated 6.8 million workers--more than 7 percent of all U.S. private non-agricultural employment. Their workers earned a payroll worth $170 billion--7.5 percent of the nation's total.

The motor vehicle industry is a mature, cyclical industry. Annual growth for new passenger cars and light trucks in the U.S. on a long-term basis is predicted to be just over 1 percent. The number of motor vehicle models has increased over the years, with the average volume per model decreasing. The resulting trend is towards a more fragmented, niche-oriented market. A key element in gaining market share in such an environment is a manufacturer's ability to introduce new products to respond rapidly to changing consumer demand.

In the recent past, product development at the Big Three could be characterized as a lengthy, throw-it-over-the-wall process. The engineering and development cycle was, and still is, capital intensive and thus very expensive, due mainly to the need not only to redesign dedicated machining and tooling for each new model, but also to prototype and try out the redesigned equipment. According to a 1991 report on the U.S. motor vehicle industry and market by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, a "major" model changeover (20 percent change in content) costs about $3 billion and takes between two and four years to bring to market. Approximately half of the $3 billion ($1.2 - $1.8 billion) is related to manufacturing and capital equipment costs. An "all new" model changeover (50 to 70 percent content change) costs $6 to $9 billion, takes between three to five years to bring to market, and the changeover cost for converting the manufacturing facilities is an additional $1.5 - $2.9 billion. If these trends were to continue, then the model changeovers forecast for the turn of the century, with 70 to 90 percent changes in content, would cost $9 to $12 billion and take an additional two to three years to bring to market. Under these conditions, U.S. companies could not respond to changing consumer demands in a cost effective and timely manner. But assuming that reducing the equipment cost by an order of magnitude through the successful MVMT program would significantly lower changeover cost, a "major" changeover would cost $1.6 - $1.7 billion, an "all new" changeover would cost $3.2 - $6.3 billion, and forecasted turn-of-the-century changeovers would cost $5 - $7 billion. Considering that the Big Three are now involved in about 10 changeovers per year, and that this number is likely to grow due to the increased market fragmentation, the potential net savings are huge.

Reducing the time from vehicle launch to the first "all new" marketable vehicle from current industry standards to 24 months will provide the Big Three the flexibility to develop products to better respond to changing consumer demands. This time reduction will result in part from the closer relationships between the Big Three and their suppliers, the use of concurrent engineering, and designing vehicles for manufacturability. The manufacturing processes and flexible tooling technology proposed in this program will enable existing equipment to be modified quickly and with low incremental capital investment, allowing the Big Three and their suppliers to meet customer demand in a timely, cost-effective manner. The reduced cost of introducing a new product will lower the accounting break-even point, implying that smaller market segments could be profitably served.

This focused program will have an immediate and profound impact on U.S. metalworking industries. According to the U.S. Statistical Abstract 1995, 1994 U.S. consumption of metal cutting and metal forming tools, and special dies, tools, jigs and fixtures can be estimated to be about $19.3 billion. Motor vehicle or motor vehicle related industries typically account for between one third and one half of all machine tool shipments annually. To remain competitive, the first and second tier suppliers will need new metal cutting and metal forming tools, welding equipment, and special dies, tools, jigs, and fixtures that will meet their performance and productivity requirements. As the Big Three are competing globally, they will increasingly source globally for machine tools and other supplies. If the U.S. first and second tier suppliers are unable to provide components with suitable performance-to-price ratios, then the Big Three will look to foreign suppliers.

Evidence of Good Technical Ideas

The MVMT program focuses on manufacturing processes as the means to drive the competitiveness of American firms. Designed on the basis of industry input, the program targets technology advances that can strengthen manufacturing capabilities along the entire automotive production chain. The program will advance manufacturing processes in two ways. First, by concentrating on technical bases of specific manufacturing processes, it will leverage American leadership in engineering and the physical sciences into a position of leadership in manufacturing. Second, by making processes reconfigurable and easily coupled with other processes in a complete product manufacturing system, it will provide greater flexibility and higher utilization of plant capacity. The technologies outlined below are clear areas of need that are recognized by the automotive industry and fall within the scope of the MVMT program.

Material Processes and Equipment

(A) Stamping and metal forming processes. Projects selected in the first MVMT solicitation targeted the precision and agility of stamped sheet metal parts on the scale of body components. The second MVMT solicitation will extend these advances to small precision parts, such as springs and fasteners. These industries, which consist of thousands of small family-operated businesses across North America, faces the same basic issues as the manufacturers in the higher profile industries: the need to increase productivity and quality, and to lower changeover times and overall costs. The equipment that produces these parts uses fundamental technology developed in the first half of this century. This technology will have to be enhanced significantly to meet future competitive global challenges in this industry. Targets of opportunity include technologies for imbedding sensors in tools and processes, increasing productivity (by an order of magnitude) of the more flexible CNC bending and forming technologies, closed-loop real-time monitoring and control systems for in-process self-corrective action, increasing productivity (by an order of magnitude) of press and slide forming processes, and the development of material handling systems to support these process improvements.

(B) Advanced Machining. The first MVMT solicitation targeted the machining of discrete prismatic parts, including such powertrain components as engine blocks, heads, transmission cases, and crankshafts. Newer automobile and aircraft engines, diesel engines, and hundreds of other products require exceedingly high tolerances in order to function properly. The targets of opportunity in machining for the second MVMT solicitation include reconfigurable machining systems with increased precision for producing high-volume parts. Competitiveness will be advanced by agile transfer lines using modular units that can be quickly assembled or disassembled based on market demand. These systems must support increased cutting speed and feed rates, real-time error correction capabilities, the generation and validation of cutting paths directly from computer-aided-design data, intelligent process monitoring and control capabilities, and responsiveness to changes measured in situ during the machining process.

(C) Abrasive machining. Grinding is a machining process often used in the finishing of parts, and there is a well-documented need for high precision, inexpensive grinding machines. Technology developments that will enable advanced grinding machines include advances in grinding tool materials, such as superabrasives, and improved understanding of the fundamentals of the grinding process. For example, in the centerless grinding of cylindrical automotive components, superabrasive technology is not cost-effective due to a lack of machine tool technology, particularly in emerging engine component technology using advanced ceramics such as cam followers and values. Previous research on the grinding of ceramics indicates that to achieve large removal rates while maintaining a small grain depth of cut, high wheel speeds and fine grit wheels must be employed. The targets of opportunity include process developments for superabrasives, machine tool development for increasing static and dynamic rigidity, and control technology for greater precision in form and surface finish.

(D) Constructive technologies for rapid fabrication of production tooling and functional parts. In the automotive industry the longest lead time in producing a new product is the design and fabrication of production tooling, including such items as molds for plastic parts, dies for die casting, and stamping dies. The traditional approach is machining tool steel, a time-consuming process. Several methods have been developed for the rapid fabrication of prototype or limited-run tooling, but the tooling produced is typically not amenable to production molding or casting processes. In addition, the tool materials are usually unable to address demanding metal forming processes, such as forging, stamping, or casting, because of their limited temperature capability and hardness. Emerging constructive technologies that build up the desired shape rather than cutting it out of a blank offer a potentially revolutionary approach, not only for fixtures and tooling, but also for parts with features and geometries that cannot be obtained with conventional metal removal processes. These fabrication technologies permit miniaturized sensors and actuators to be embedded in both tooling and products, and thus can empower designers to create new designs not previously obtainable. The targets of opportunity include metal spraying, investment casting using rapid prototype models as patterns, vapor plating, direct metal deposition, three dimensional printing, droplet based manufacturing, free form fabrication, and free form powder molding.

(E) Net shape forming of advanced materials. Lighter weight advanced engineered materials, originally developed for the defense and aerospace industries, can reduce emissions and fuel consumption for the North American ground transportation fleet without significantly compromising vehicle package and safety. These engineered materials, primarily consisting of a matrix (polymer, metals, or ceramics) and synthetic fibers (glass, polymers, or ceramics), are now too expensive for adoption and widespread use in the automotive industry. The adoption of these materials depends on the development of manufacturing technologies which exploit their near-net-shape fabrication capabilities. Many alternative technologies for these advanced materials, such as vacuum die casting, semi-solid forging, precision forging, squeeze casting, metal injection, ceramic injection, plastic injection, reactive molding, and powder metal processing, need to be explored. The targets of opportunity in this area include dimensional repeatability, reduction in physical variation through real-time sensing and control, interface chemistry control, and (more generally) increased process reliability.

Assembly Processes and Equipment

This area has the overall objective of developing modular, rapidly deployable, flexible assembly systems capable of economically assembling any member of a product family in any desired quantity, and capable of being disassembled and redeployed to assemble members of another product family. This need will be addressed by developing standard, modular, and flexible workcells. Modular hardware will allow a better than 90 percent reutilization of system components in newly configured systems, resulting in a better than 90 percent recovery of the capital invested. Modularity will also facilitate assembly system configuration by allowing software to play a significant role in reducing the system deployment time. These design modules will allow future assembly systems to be deployed in a matter of 4 to 6 months, a considerable improvement over the current 24 to 36 months.

(F) Powertrain Assembly. Powertrain assembly systems are responsible for all components of powertrains, including engine heads, short blocks, complete engines, transmissions, and any other powertrain subassembly. These components are characterized by edge dimensions less than one meter, and weights not exceeding 230 kilograms (about 500 pounds). Some components, such as gaskets, are deformable, requiring special handling. Assembly systems must have the capability to be both high-volume production units (capable of rates up to 40,000 units per month) and also agile and rapidly reconfigurable (having fast manipulators with lift capacities up to 230 kilograms). They also must incorporate dedicated part feeding systems, rapid sensing capabilities, and system performance monitors. Targets of opportunity include systems equipped with: (1) flexible feeders, (2) tool magazines for end effectors capable of driving screw and bolts, installing interference and snap rings, and delivering adhesives, and (3) 2D, or modestly priced 3D, vision systems.

(G) General Assembly. General assembly in automotive manufacturing plants comprises the entire assembly process after parts leave the paint area and up to the time the finished product leaves the plant for shipment to the dealer. This area includes installation of interior and exterior trim, instrument panels, seats, the powertrain assembly, steering assemblies, brakes, electrical, suspension, and, in the case of trucks, frame assemblies. The success of cost-effective and quality assembly is determined by the teams that design, build, and supply subassemblies to the general assembly area. Because component assembly is so diverse, general assembly has been left largely untouched by technological productivity improvements. Success in this area depends on solutions that impact suppliers of subassemblies, suppliers of production equipment, and the 64 North American general assembly plants of the automakers. Critical areas for technology development and deployment include material handling to and from the assembly line extending across the supply chain, new joining technologies to reduce the number of discrete fasteners in joining dissimilar materials, and inspection technologies to validate assembly processes and ensure the integrity of components both before and after assembly.

Information and Knowledge Processing

(H) Intelligent process monitoring and control. Today most manufacturing processes run open-loop, with only manual adjustment. Quality and productivity enhancements will require active control systems to reduce process variation. Such systems depend on improvements in sensors and process models. Closing the control loop requires improved sensor technology, including the ability to embed sensors directly in tooling, algorithmic and hardware support for smart sensors that can derive parameters of interest (e.g., injection molding pressure) from directly observable quantities, and the ability to fuse information from different sensory modalities (e.g., tactile and acoustic information in assembly). Interpreting this sensory feedback requires formal models of the process to predict behavior and to detect and remedy malfunctions. Efficient derivation and management of process models is a non-trivial problem, and will require innovative research and development in emergent control, including application of object- and agent-oriented software technologies to real-time problems, genetic techniques that evolve control strategies, and applications of complex dynamics to take advantage of the enhanced adaptivity offered by systems on the edge of formal chaos. The increased process information available in a closed-loop environment raises the stakes for overall system integration, making possible much tighter coupling of different processes but also placing new demands on integrators. Open systems technologies must be extended and refined to ensure plug-and-play compatibility, rapid reconfigurability, and close teamwork between machines and human workers.

(I) Integration of Product and Process Information. Direct use of product data in production, and feedback of process information to process designers, can reduce the lead time and improve the accuracy of process tooling. Several manufacturing processes are tightly coupled to the product design. Examples include stamping dies, molds, assembly fixtures, inspection gages, packaging, material handling and other interfaces. Process designs (like stamping dies) are done at organizations that are suppliers to the product manufacturer, requiring data models to flow down the supply chain. Three hurdles require expensive manual intervention. The product model may be incomplete with respect to the details needed to generate tooling, requiring additional information. There may be errors in the product model (such as sliver surfaces or line fragments) that do not show up in drawings but clog CAM software. The accuracy of process design systems may be limited and not compensate for actual production results, such as springback or shrinkage. Process information needs to be captured in a way that not only supports continuous improvement within a single process, but also closes the process loop with upstream and downstream processes. For example, an assembly operation should be designed on the basis of dimensional information from the process that manufactured the parts to be assembled, rather than relying only on product models of those parts that do not take account of manufacturing variability.

Industry Commitment

The U.S. light vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers were heavily involved in the initial development of the MVMT focussed program and in the modifications made to the original program white paper's technical thrust areas. Due to light vehicle suppliers growing importance in vehicle design and manufacturing, suppliers are the program's chief focus and their participation in creating the MVMT focussed program was deemed essential for the program to be successful. Today, these firms account for about half of the value added in light vehicles. That proportion is expected to grow as automobile manufacturers assign an increasing share of engineering and development work to suppliers and look outside for components that they once made themselves. The 17 white paper submissions that formed the basis for the first solicitation of the MVMT focussed program were generated by more than 150 firms, representing manufacturing capabilities along the entire automotive production chain. A program planning workshop held in Ypsilanti, Michigan in October 1994 allowed the over 250 industry and academic participants to provide comments on the draft MVMT program white paper. During the winter of 1994/1995, regional bidders conferences were held in Ypsilanti, MI; Champaign-Urbana, IL; Pittsburgh, PA; Kansas City, Kansas; Alberquerque, NM; and in Gaithersburg, MD.

Overall, a total of 199 companies were involved in the 61 proposals industry submitted to the first MVMT competition. Of the 61 proposals, 15 received ATP awards. The 15 awards include 93 total participants, with 31 of the awardees being small businesses. Particularly for smaller automotive industry suppliers, the time and cost of having their key personnel participate in writing a proposal for a competitively awarded program, given the political uncertainty surrounding the ATP in the winter and spring of 1995, provides strong evidence of the industries commitment to this program. Abstracts of the awarded proposals are provided as an appendix to this document.

In 1992 the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) was formed by Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors, following cooperative research and development that began in 1988. The mission of USCAR is to facilitate, monitor and promote precompetitive cooperative research and development. On September 29, 1993, President Clinton and Vice President Gore joined with the chief executive officers of the Big Three U.S. automakers to announced the formation of a new partnership aimed at strengthening U.S. competitiveness by developing new technologies for motor vehicles. This Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) identified three specific but interrelated goals: (l) significantly improve national competitiveness in manufacturing, (2) implement commercially viable innovation from ongoing research on conventional vehicles, and (3) develop a vehicle to achieve up to 3 times the fuel efficiency of today's comparable vehicle. This ATP focused program is most closely aligned with the first goal.

Significance of ATP Funding

Even though the motor vehicle market has been strong in the past few years, it is highly unlikely that without ATP support the Big Three and their first-tier suppliers would undertake a motor vehicle technology program even beginning to approach the scope and emphasis being proposed here. The high technical risks of this program would not be matched by suitable near-term benefits. The industry has adopted a product-oriented outlook and has concentrated its research and development resources in areas that consumers can clearly identify and use for product differentiation. The fraction allocated to process-oriented R&D tends to focus on shorter term, incremental improvements, in contrast with the major gains in performance and capabilities that the ATP focused program will foster. More fundamentally, the Big Three are served by essentially the same supplier base. Numbering about 3,500 companies, U.S. automotive suppliers tend to be small and medium-sized firms. Most spend little or nothing on process-oriented research, leaving them ill-prepared to anticipate and respond to major shifts in manufacturing technology and automobile concepts. An example of such a turning point is an end-of-the-decade transition to lightweight aluminum components for most body and powertrain parts now made with cast iron. If domestic suppliers are slow to respond to this transition, U.S. auto makers will be forced to look abroad to meet their needs for machine tools and parts. Furthermore, from a very practical standpoint, if any one of the Big Three funds a supplier to develop process-oriented technological improvements, many competing motor vehicle manufacturers would also benefit as "free riders". The funding company would not be able to gain a competitive advantage from their investment, and subsequently not receive an adequate return for the high technical risk nature of program.

Beyond the major technological advances that it will spur, the new program is expected to foster a more cooperative and more constructive relationship between auto manufacturers and their suppliers, resulting in additional competitive advantages. This benefit is already obvious from previous ATP funded projects involving this sector and industry participation in proposing this new focused program.

In order to ensure that the first MVMT solicitation did not conflict with other programs, discussions were held with representatives of several Federal agencies, including the National Automotive Center of the U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Command, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Defense Programs Technology Transfer, and the Advanced Projects Research Agency. Two conclusions were clear at that time and have remained so. First, as the PNGV canvass correctly predicted, there is no indication of either direct conflict or redundancy. Second, an inventory of manufacturing-related programs, conducted for the PNGV, revealed only a small collection of activities devoted to factory-floor technologies, despite their well-recognized importance to accomplishing PNGV goals.

Having been briefed on the scope of the first and second MVMT program, other federal agencies remain strongly supportive, viewing it as augmenting their own initiatives. The focus of MVMT is the development of specific manufacturing process technology, whereas almost all of the other Federal programs concentrate on product design and high-level systems and enterprise integration.

Without the collaborative efforts that the ATP aims to marshal, U.S. auto makers and their suppliers would not mount and sustain the range of activities needed to achieve the major advances in technology, manufacturing practices, and industry performance that are the objectives of the new program.

J.C. Boudreaux, Program Manager
NIST/Advanced Technology Program
Admininstration Building, Room A621
Gaithersburg MD 20899

tele: (301)975-3560
fax: (301)926-9524

M.M. Daum, Business Manager
NIST/Advanced Technology Program
Administration Building, Room A301
Gaithersburg MD 20899

tele: (301)975-5487
fax: (301)926-9524

Selected Program White Papers

  1. Allen, G.E. "Machine Base for New Manufacturing Processes," PI940158, (Aries) (703)759-7561

    This white paper defines a program which supports the development of new manufacturing technologies, such as material additive processes, processes for micromechanical and electric systems, and near-net-shape free form processes.

  2. Carlisle, B., Eicher, P. and Tarn, T.J. "Intelligent Machines: The 21st Century Technology," PI930145, (IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, Robotics Industries Association) (313)994-6088.

    Intelligent machines are on every list important 21st century technologies. The groups propose four grand challenges in the robotics field.

  3. Hahn, R.S. "Controlled Surface Integrity Grinding," PI940032, (Hahn Engineering) (510)339-0939, fax (510)339-2939.

    By controlling such critical parameters as wheel sharpness, wheelwork interface area, normal force in the contact region, and work surface speed, grinders can achieve satisfactory surface integrity.

  4. Kegg, R.L. "High Speed Machining for Low-Tech Workplaces," PI930191, (Cincinnati Milacron) (513)841-8594, fax (513)841-8996.

    Nearly all practical high speed machining is restricted/applicable to parts made only of aluminum. To make high speed milling as practical for steel new technologies must be developed: low cost cubic boron nitride coated cutting inserts, heavy duty high-horsepower, high-speed milling spindles, and high speed, accurate servo systems.

  5. Kegg, R.I. "Developing New Commodity Machine Tools Featuring Low Cost and Advanced Technologies," PI930193, (Cincinnati Milacron) (513)841-8594, fax (513)841-8996

    The sales of commodity machines constitute the majority of machine tool transactions, and this area has been dominated by the Japanese. The U.S. can make major advancements by initiating and implementing a wide range of technologies: apply space-frame design to a small, inexpensive, high volume machine; upgrade fast-coordinate-transform software; and develop volumetric error compensation.

  6. Koren, Y. "Next-Generation Agile Machining Systems," PI930079, (University of Michigan, Allen-Bradley, Kennametal, Cargill, A2 Automation, Chrysler, Reliability and Maintainability Associates, Caterpillar, U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Command (TACOM), General Motors, Cincinnati Milacron, Detroit Diesel, Krueger Machine Tool, Ford, Cummins Engine, Hurco, Sensor Adaptive Machines, Sharnoa, Giddings & Lewis, Cellular Concepts, General Dynamics, R&B Machine Tool, Auto Body Consortium, Montronix, Ingersoll, Lamb Technion (Litton Industries), AUTOCON) (313)936-3596, fax (313)747-7310,

    U.S. industry must convert from mass production to agile production.

  7. McCabe, J. "Part Fixturing in Agile Machining Systems," PI940146, (National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, General Motors, Ford, Giddings & Lewis, IAMS) (313)995-0300, fax (313)995-1150.

    This program has two main focus areas: the development of reconfigurable, modular fixturing technologies for automotive parts; and the development of methodologies for planning, designing, and analyzing fixtures.

  8. McCabe, J. "US Grinding Partnership - 2000," PI940145, (National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, Cummins, Ford, Pratt & Whitney, Torrington, Caterpillar, General Motors, Briggs and Straton, Mattison, Campbell, Gallmeyer & Livingston, Cincinnati Milacron, Landis, Bryant, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, SAMI, Control Gaging, Automated Precision, Extrude Hone, CogniSense, General Electric, Abrasive Technologies, Diacraft, 3M Abrasives, Hydroflow, Allen-Bradley, AMT, University of Massachusetts, University of Connecticut, Pennsylvania State) (313)995-0300, fax (313)995-1150.

    This program will focus on the development of advanced grinding technology.

  9. McClelland, J.F. "Motor Vehicle Paint Analyser," PI940316, (MTEC Photoacoustics) (515)292-7974, fax (515)292-7125.

    The inclusion of a rapid non-contact motor vehicle paint analyser should be used for quality control of clear-coat finish on the shop floor as well as for weathering research in the field.

  10. Prylon, B.T. "High-Performance Environmentally Compliant Coatings," PI940153, (General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, USCAR Low Emission Paint Consortium) (313)947-0727, fax (313)947-1039.

    This program, in association with the Low Emission Paint Consortium (LEPC) of USCAR, will accelerate the development of low-emission painting technology.

  11. Quinto, D. "Intelligent Cutting Tool Systems for Increased Productivity in Automotive Machining Processes," PI940318, (Kennametal, General Motors, University of Kentucky, Ford, Chrysler, Inland Steel, Alcoa) (412)539-4851, fax (412)539-5814.

    This program will focus on the technical development of cutting tool technology, including the tool material properties, tool geometry and its effect on the chip formation process, and the interaction of cutting tool properties with machinability parameters.

  12. Sully, L.J.D. "Casting and Molding Process Technician's Assistant," PI930059, (Edison Industrial Systems Center) (419)531-8610, fax (419)531-8465,

    This proposal will develop a expert system to assist in casting and molding operations, using mathematical models and process monitoring systems.

  13. Ulsoy, G. and Stenger, L.A. "Infrastructure for Predictive Process Control," PI940149, (University of Michigan, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, AvPro, Ford, General Motors, OmniView, SAMI, Pratt & Whitney, Wizdom) (313)995-4989, fax (313)995-1150,

    This idea will develop an infrastructure to support the rapid development and deployment of predictive process control for manufacturing applications.

  14. Vahala, E. "A New Generation Powertrain Machining Technology," PI940151, (Auto Body Consortium, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, University of Michigan, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences) (313)741-5906, fax (313)741-5912,

    This is a program to increase the accuracy, flexibility and productivity of automotive powertrain machining.

  15. Vahala, E. "Next Generation Sheet Metal Stamping," PI940152, (Auto Body Consortium, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Ohio State University, Sandia National Laboratories, Arrowsmith, ASC, Auto Die/PICO, Bethleham, Detroit Center Tool, Edgewood, Helm, HMS Products, ISI APG, ISI Robotics, ITT Automotive, Lamb Technion, Lobdell-Emery, Minster, Modern Engineering, Perceptron, Pioneer, Sekelly, Signature Technologies, Tecnomatix, Version) (313)741-5906, fax (313)741-5912,

    This program will address the thrust areas: (1) optimized design processes for stamping and assembly, (2) process variation caused by sheet metal forming processes, and (3) stamping production issues, including signature analysis for process monitoring and control.

  16. Weil, N. "Advanced Multi-Axis Machining System 2000," PI930353, (National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Anorad, Automation Intelligence, API, SAMI, Wizdom, Allen-Bradley, Aries,Autocad, Hurco, IAMS, Metcut, Cincinnati Milacron, Giddings & Lewis, AT&T, Boeing, Cummins Engine, Eastman Kodak, Ford, General Motors, Pratt & Whitney, Texas Instruments, Allied-Signal, Caterpillar, Deere, IBM, Rockwell International, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)(313)995-0300.

    Develop hardware and software for machine tools of exceptional speed and accuracy, which would be capable of performing a variety of machining operations from CAD with significant flexibility, durability, and self-correction capability.

  17. Weil, N. "Flexible Assembly Program Area," PI930354, (National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, Adept Technologies, Silma, University of Southern California, Stanford Research Institute, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Perceptron, SAMI, Applied Intelligent Systems, Sarcos Research, Sandia National Laboratories, Eastman Kodak, Ford, General Motors, Allied-Signal, Cummins Engine, Texas Instruments, Honeywell, Motorola, Northern Telecom, United Technologies)(313)995-0300.

    There is a need for rapid response, flexible, agile systems for the assembly of products in small volumes in order to competitive in the world market. These systems must provide the functionality for rapidly changing the product mix within a part family.

Date created: 1998
Last updated: March 29, 2007

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