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Development of Roadmap and Consortium for Innovation in Sheet Metal Forming

Goal: Accelerate development and implementation of advanced technologies and strategies in sheet metal forming through a technology-roadmap-enabled consortium that reaches across disconnected industry and engages the full value chain.

Lead: Northwestern University
1801 Maple Ave.
Evanston, IL 60201

Award Number70NANB14H056

Federal Funding: $499,899

Project Duration: 24 months

Northwestern University and its partners intend to jumpstart and guide the growth and development of an industry-spanning Sheet Metal Forming Innovation Consortium. As a first step, the team will 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. This approach will identify advanced manufacturing solutions with high-payoff potential that can be pursued through cross-industry collaboration. The roadmapping effort also will monitor developments in areas outside traditional industry boundaries and research interests, and it will consider competition and market trends, standards, and other factors that can influence technology choices.

Capital-intensive sheet metal forming underpins diverse products and sectors: automobiles, aircraft, appliances, foods and beverages, electronic and medical products, and more. It is estimated that sheet metal forming operations impact at least 7 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. These operations, however, tend to organize around the uses of their primary customers, which results in a fragmented industry structure. At the same time, intense international competition, challenging customer requirements, and cost and environmental factors are driving all U.S. sheet metal forming operations to cut lead time and cost, reduce waste, and keep up with 'lightweighting' and product miniaturization trends. As a consequence, the diverse sheet metal forming industry is under great pressure to attain a shared focus on opportunities to innovate and improve manufacturing performance. Producing consistent quality and low costs with less lead-time will demand a tightly aligned value chain.

For project information: Media Relations, (847) 491-5001

Funded Participants:

  • Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, IL)

AMTech Project Manager: Jean-Louis Staudenmann, 301-975-4866, jean-louis.staudenmann@nist.gov