EAGER: Cybermanufacturing: Pervasive Cyber-enabled Manufacturing
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Manufacturing is typically a capital and skill intensive industry. However, with advances in manufacturing technologies and cyber infrastructure, the barrier to entry into manufacturing has been significantly reduced. Today, it is possible for a company to establish a manufacturing facility with machine tools and 3D printers, conduct business through Internet, and supply parts to customers across the country and around the world. By extension, it is possible to form a vision of a pervasive, cyber-enabled manufacturing environment which links providers and customers of manufacturing technologies, services, and products. The participants are geographically dispersed, but are connected by the cyber infrastructure. To explore and enable this concept, the objective of the project is to increase the understanding of the mechanisms and technologies needed for creating an innovative cyber-enabled manufacturing system. This EArly-concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) project will create and test a platform for trading manufacturing activities online. The developed cyber-enabled system will allow entities of different sizes to participate, collaborate, and compete. The results of the work can promote grassroots manufacturing and potentially lead to a widespread manufacturing industry thriving in rural small towns and inner cities across America. This EAGER project will study two critical enablers for building a pervasive cyber-enabled manufacturing system - a system that can be perceived as the eBay of manufacturing. The tasks involve analysis and synthesis of manufacturing and cyberspace knowledge. The research team will investigate, design, prototype, and test a scalable online platform to match supply and demand of manufacturing products and services. As the suppliers of manufacturing activities have different capabilities, capacities, and costs and the customers have different technical requirements and budget constraints, efficient and effective online dynamic matching algorithms, based on a combinatorial auction approach, will be designed to facilitate online job transactions. The second focus of the project is to design, develop, and evaluate robust plug-and-play machine controller and manufacturing process instructions. To connect users through plug-and-play, a web-based depository will be created for transmitting (drop-off and pick-up) part design and manufacturing information. The model-based approach will be applied to understand and improve the robustness of plug-and-play 3D printing and machining. Simulation of online transactions will be conducted to test the reliability and scalability of the prototype system.