The long-term goal of AMPL is to enable manufacturing processes that can (1) reduce energy and costs; (2) increase throughput; (3) enable desired degree of customization; and (4) sustainably manufacture emerging products. Applications of such processes range from manufacturing micro-scale sensors and devices to macro-scale structures in transportation, energy and biomedical industries. Such processes typically have one or more of the following technical advantages over conventional manufacturing: (1) minimal part-specific tooling; (2) efficient energy and material usage; (3) reduced number of processing steps; (4) wide materials capability; (5) scalability and flexibility in batch-size and product variety. Processes with these qualities are being developed and demonstrated at an ever increasing rate.
Feasible industrialization of these processes requires a combination of a-priori estimation of process parameters and online process control. This creates the scientific need to go beyond trial-and-error experiments and understand the physics behind the process-material interaction. Often, such understanding also leads to innovation of new processes with enhanced capabilities. In line with this need, our overall research approach is to (A) create physics-based models supported by experimental efforts to understand the multiphysical, multiscale process-material interactions in manufacturing processes; and (B) use this knowledge to create and control processes that realize the above technical advantages and long-term goals.