Northwestern University Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Advanced Manufacturing Processes Laboratory


Northwestern University to host 3rd CIRP Conference on BioManufacturing, July 2017

Sponosored by Northwestern Initiative for Manufacturing Science and Innovation (NIMSI)

Biomanufacturing, defined as the design, fabrication, assembly and measurement of bio-elements into structures, devices, and systems, and their interfacing and integration into/with larger scale structures in vivo or in vitro, is an emergent domain integrating life science and engineering principles.

CIRP, the World Academy for Production Engineering, plays a key role in this area promoting multidisciplinary research towards the development of medical and welfare devices and systems for improving quality of life and reducing global healthcare costs.

The CIRP-Biomanufacturing conference was designed to be an international forum to discuss progress and future directions, and revise milestones as necessary, to facilitate exchange of information on biodesign, biofabrication and biomechatronics.

More information at

AMPL Hosts Local School Children, April 2017

On April 27, 2017 Northwestern hosted its annual "Take Our Kids to Work Day." At AMPL we hosted lab tours for 30 kids who got a chance to learn about manufacturing and visit our facilities. They also got to see how high-speed cameras, thermal cameras, and microscopes are used in our lab.



AMPL Members Awarded Valeo Innovation Challenge Prize

Paris, October 14, 2016

Valeo today revealed the winners of the Valeo Innovation Challenge, the Group's international open innovation contest for students from all disciplines.

For this third annual competition, Valeo added a "New ways of using cars" category alongside the original "Technological innovation" category. Two €100,000 first prizes and three €10,000 second prizes were awarded this morning at a ceremony at the Maison de La Recherche in Paris. This year, the Challenge saw 1,344 teams from 795 business schools and universities in 65 different countries sign up for a chance to invent and develop innovative solutions for the automobile of 2030.

The five winning teams were selected today by a jury chaired by Valeo Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jacques Aschenbroich and made up of eminent figures from the world of science as well as members of the Valeo Group.

The Northwestern team was awarded the second prize of €10,000 in the category of "New ways of using cars". Their project proposed a new way to use time in cars during semi and full autonomous driving in order to perform wellness activities. Physical exercise and health monitor functions are added with minimal modification to the vehicle structure to allow the drivers to actively improve their health and wellbeing. The team’s mission was to make the driver healthy and fit, and provide drivers a safer and more beneficial driving experience with their time in semi or full autonomous cars.

More information at

AMPL Members Receive Awards at NAMRC and MSEC Conferences 2016

June 2016

Sarah Wolff, Ph.D. student of Profs. Cao and Ehmann, received a Best Presentation Award for her presentation of “Anisotropic Properties of Directed Energy Deposition (DED)-Processed Ti-6Al-4V” at the 44th SME North America Manufacturing Research Conference (NAMRC). 

Best Papers

“2016 NAMRC Best Presentation Award”
(from left to right: SME Executive Director Jeff Krause, Sarah Wolff, and NAMRC Board of Directors Prof. Lihui Wang of KTH).

Ph.D. student Weizhao Zhang received a Best Paper Award on behalf of his co-authors Dr. Demeng Che and Prof. Kornel Ehmann at the 2016 ASME Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference (MSEC), the annual conference of the ASME Manufacturing Engineering Division. The paper is titled “Rock Cutter Interactions in Linear Rock Cutting.”

Best Paper

“2016 MSEC Best Paper Award”
(Weizhao Zhang and Prof. Brian Paul of Oregon State, MED Chair)

Jian Cao Receives SME’s Taylor Medal

Cao was honored for her pioneering and innovative research on manufacturing

June 1, 2016

Taylor Medal for Jian Cao

Northwestern Engineering's Jian Cao has received the 2016 Frederick W. Taylor Research Medal from the SME, previously known as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. The Taylor Medal is the highest honor given by SME to a researcher in the broad manufacturing field.

Cao is the first woman to receive the prestigious research award since it was established in 1957. She received the medal on May 15 at the SME’s International Awards Gala.

Jian Cao Jian Cao "I am so honored and grateful to SME for recognizing my research work," said Cao, professor of mechanical engineering and associate vice president for research. "None of this would be possible without the contributions from the talented, hardworking students and postdocs in my group and the support from my Northwestern colleagues."

The Taylor Medal honors published research that leads to a better understanding of materials, facilities, principles, operations, and their application to improve manufacturing processes. Cao received the award for her pioneering research on innovative manufacturing processes with seminal contributions in integrating material characterization with sensing and control for forming and laser-assisted processing of sheet metals and woven composites.

The founding director of the Northwestern Initiative on Manufacturing Science and Innovation, Cao is internationally recognized her broad impact on the fundamental understanding of process mechanics, which has led to innovative manufacturing processes.

An elected fellow of SME, the International Academy of Production Engineering (CIRP), and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Cao has received multiple awards, including the ASME Blackall Machine and Gage Award, NSF CAREER Award, and SME’s Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award. She is also the founding technical editor of the Journal of Micro- and Nano-Manufacturing.

Before joining Northwestern in 1995, Cao was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she also earned her master’s degree and PhD.

"The collaborations I have developed within the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern Engineering, Northwestern, and beyond over the past 20 years have brought many fruitful results," Cao said. "I look forward to many more scientific advancements and technology innovations to originate from our recent initiatives on manufacturing."

SWE Sponsored 45th Annual Career Day for Girls

February 27, 2016

Desktop Mill

Right: Newell Moser explains the science behind the Double Sided Incremental Forming machine
Left: Sarah Wolff shows the group the AMPL RAPID Lumera Laser, capable of micro-machining virtually any material

Participants in the Society of Women Engineers' 45th annual Career Day, toured the Northwestern AMPL facilities. Female students in 6th-12th grade take Career Day as an opportunity to learn more about the different fields of engineering.

AMPL members Newell Moser and Sarah Wolff hosted a lab tour for the group, showcasing the innovative work done within our labs. Participants offered interesting questions and gave AMPL members the valuable chance to further hone their research communication skills.