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

Advanced Manufacturing Processes Laboratory

AMTech: Development of Roadmap and Consortium for Innovation in Sheet Metal Forming

AMTech Project Brief: Award Number 70NANB14H056, Lead: Northwestern University

Roadmapping for Innovation in Sheet Metal Forming Workshop website

NIST Project Brief

Sheet metal forming is responsible for more than 7% of US GDP, critical to manufacturing of automobiles, planes, appliances, food and beverage, electronic and medical products and more. It plays an essential role in enabling global market competitiveness and manufacturing by how it impacts cost, development cycle and energy use; and has been identified as one of the eleven technology areas in the 2012 President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report to the President.

The goal is to accelerate development and coordinated implementation of advanced technologies and strategies in sheet metal forming overcoming obstacles such as high capital cost and long development cycles.

Northwestern will lead a team to engage firms and associations in diverse industries in an integrated technology roadmapping effort. This activity will focus on cross-cutting challenges, and it will stimulate linkages between company and university researchers. The roadmapping effort will monitor emerging new technologies impacting materials, lubrication, coatings, equipment, automation, sensors, data analytics, numerical simulations, and related skills training - in both large mass production firms and in small-medium enterprises (SMEs).

The Team: A strong team has been assembled that can launch, support and bring the Consortium into sustainability. The team combines academic and practice experts with deep knowledge and demonstrated competence in both forming (Cao-PI and Santner) and roadmapping (Radnor and Strauss), further supported by industry consultants with many years of experience in relevant firms. The project team will also have collaborations from the NIST Center for Automotive Lightweighting (NCAL), the North American Deep Drawing Research Group (NADDRG), Ohio Manufacturing Institute (OMI) and the forming groups at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), Texas A&M and the Oregon State University, as well as jumpstarting participation support from material suppliers such as ALCOA and ArcelorMittal, small-medium firms such as Deringer-Ney (DNI specialized in precision metal components), a large manufacturing firm such as Ford, and community colleges such as College of Lake County (CLC) and its connection to other community colleges for their key role in addressing workforce training. The team will outreach to the Chicago Metro Metal Consortium and two newly established manufacturing institutes, the Digital Lab (DMDI) based in Chicago and the Lightweight Metal (ALMMII) based in Detroit, to maximize the efforts and the impacts.

Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC)
Planning Grant & Planning Meeting

In order to develop a sustainable fiscal and intellectual basis for a SMF consortium, Northwestern University received in July 2016, along with collaborators at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and Texas A&M University (TAMU), a small National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) planning grant for a Center for Metal Deformation Processes. 

Planning Meeting
Northwestern University, March 2017

The objective of this planning meeting was to receive industrial input and assure support for an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) for Metal Deformation Processes. The long term objective of the Center is to deliver pre-competitive, fundamental knowledge to industry for the purposes of improved product performance, enhanced productivity, work force development, and economic growth.

More informaiotn on this Planning Meeting can be found on the I/UCRC for Metal Deformation Processes website