Interdisciplinary Center for Advanced Manufacturing awarded $540K project from Department of Defense

By Carla Nelson

Published: Jul 23, 2021 9:00:00 AM

From left: Lewis Payton, associate research professor; Greg Purdy, assistant professor; Greg Harris, ICAMS director and associate professor; Peter Liu, assistant professor; and Konstantinos Mykoniatis, assistant professor. From left: Lewis Payton, associate research professor; Greg Purdy, assistant professor; Greg Harris, ICAMS director and associate professor; Peter Liu, assistant professor; and Konstantinos Mykoniatis, assistant professor.

The Interdisciplinary Center for Advanced Manufacturing Systems (ICAMS) at Auburn University was recently awarded a $540k project from the Department of Defense National Imperative for Industrial Skills program. ICAMS will partner with Oshkosh Defense and ARIS Technology to research and develop a robotic high-resolution scanning system for inspection of welds in the production of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) at Oshkosh Corporation.

The project, which is titled “Dual-Purpose Robotic 3D Scanning System for Dimensional & Welding Inspection of Large Ground Vehicles (R3DWI),” is the first project awarded where ICAMS collaborated with an industry partner in the center. The goal for R3DWI is to improve Oshkosh’s current inspection of welds in the floor pan of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). The floor pan has 10 welds which are currently being inspected manually.

“Instead of manually inspecting and documenting those 10 welds, which must be accomplished by inspecting a sample of the production, the goal is to put a robot where the pan is welded,” explained Gregory Harris, ICAMS director and associate professor of industrial and systems engineering. “The system will manipulate the floor pan for the robot to scan and inspect 100 percent of the welds.”

ARIS Technology out of Chicago, Ill., has the robotics technology to assist in making the year-long project a success.

“ARIS Technology is building the robotic system and we are working with them to develop a digital twin of that robotic system,” Harris said. “ICAMS will develop a workforce development package using the digital twin and mixed reality tools to upskill the operators running the system so that they are prepared to use it and understand how it works. The long-term plan is to continue this relationship with ARIS so that we continue conducting research on the system and develop additional capabilities using the system platform.”

Dan Hartman, director of digital manufacturing at Oshkosh Corporation, said Oshkosh is excited about its new partnership with ICAMS, adding that continuous improvement in quality of products delivered to the Department of Defense provides more reliable products in the field.

“The value of our relationship was quickly realized when our first problem solving team effort resulted in the award of the R3DWI project,” Hartman said. “Expanding our partnerships with top universities also opens up access to exceptional faculty and researchers to help us drive faster towards our global digital manufacturing objectives.”

Hartman added that the ICAMS digital twin will also be utilized in future engineering designs and analysis to further improve performance of products such as the JLTV.

“The JLTV is a critical defense system for the safety and security of the U.S. Warfighter,” he said. “Improving the quality and fit of components in the JLTV improves the level of safety and security in the system, saving lives.”

ICAMS was established within the Auburn University Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in 2020 to explore the digitalization of manufacturing and become a resource for small and medium manufacturers throughout the country. ICAMS has a public-private partnership with the Department of Defense Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment office, the City of Auburn Industrial Development Board, the Alabama Community College System, Auburn University, and industry partners.

Adele Ratcliff, program director of Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS), emphasized that the R3DWI project with ICAMS is of high importance to lower the risk of JLTV failure in the field due to missing or poor-quality welds.

“We are encouraged by the progress made by our R3DWI partners and look forward to transitioning this capability to other critical programs across the defense industrial base,” she said.

Jesse Salazar, deputy assistant secretary of defense for industrial policy, also praised the project and the partnership.

“R3DWI delivers an exciting leap forward from traditional weld inspections to leading-edge, digital high-quality evaluations which enable greater precision and faster delivery to our warfighters,” he said. “The R3DWI project is emblematic of the value that comes from government, academia and industry working together to implement industry 4.0 technologies and allows us to envision ways to use emerging technology to build better systems.”

 

Media Contact: Carla Nelson, cmn0023@auburn.edu, 334.844.1404

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