Definition of Scope - Manufacturing-related R&D
Manufacturing innovation is fostered by research and development of technologies that are aimed at increasing the competitive capability of manufacturing concerns. Broadly speaking, manufacturing-related R&D encompasses improvements in existing methods or processes, or wholly new processes, machines or systems. Four main areas include:
- Unit process level technologies that create or improve manufacturing processes, including:
- fundamental improvements in existing manufacturing processes that deliver substantial productivity, quality, or environmental benefits
- development of new manufacturing processes, including new materials, coatings, methods, and practices associated with these processes.
- Machine level technologies that create or improve manufacturing equipment, including:
- improvements in capital equipment that create increased capability (such as accuracy or repeatability), increased capacity (through productivity improvements or cost reduction), or increased environmental efficiency (safety, energy efficiency, environmental impact)
- new apparatus and equipment for manufacturing, including additive and subtractive manufacturing, deformation and molding, assembly and test, semiconductor fabrication, and nanotechnology.
- Systems level technologies for innovation in the manufacturing enterprise, including:
- advances in controls, sensors, networks, and other information technologies that improve the quality and productivity of manufacturing cells, lines, systems, and facilities
- innovation in extended enterprise functions critical to manufacturing, such as quality systems, resource management, supply chain integration, and distribution, scheduling and tracking
- technologies that enable integrated and collaborative product and process development, including computer-aided and expert systems for design, tolerancing, process and materials selection, life-cycle cost estimation, rapid prototyping, and tooling.
- Environment or societal level technologies that improve workforce abilities and manufacturing competitiveness, including:
- technologies for improved workforce health and safety, such as human factors and ergonomics
- technologies that aid and improve workforce manufacturing skills and technical excellence, such as educational systems incorporating improved manufacturing knowledge and instructional methods.