Manufacturing at the Point-of-Need Center

An interdisciplinary research and development Center that consists of world-class expertise in materials, manufacturing, engineering design, business management, and logistics.

The Manufacturing at the Point-of-Need Center (MPNC) is developing and transitioning new manufacturing technologies, providing workforce development, and improving the domestic manufacturing supply chain with a key role in strengthening advanced rural manufacturing in underdeveloped areas of Alabama.

Point-of-Need Manufacturing research and development at the University of Alabama is focusing on the production of items on demand at the location where the items are needed. This paradigm allows for radical transformation and simplification of traditional supply chains. This approach allows for the faster production of parts at a lower cost than can be achieved through traditional manufacturing methods. Research examples that our interdisciplinary team are advancing include:

integrating the production of components by lower tier manufacturers directly into the assembly facilities of automotive manufacturers

providing seafaring vessels with the capabilities to manufacture replacement parts while on a voyage without having to return to port

allowing spacecraft to produce necessary parts onboard versus maintaining large stocks of spare parts onboard or undergoing the expense of part shipment

manufacturing large infrastructure components (e.g., roadway bridge girders or wind turbine blades) at the construction site versus having to manufacture them at a centralized facility and transport them to the construction site

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MPN Project Spotlight

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Project Number: WP18-C4-1323
Project Title: Recycling and Reuse of Metal Alloys by a Single Solid-State Additive Manufacturing and Repair Process

A transformative hybrid solid-state, high-shear additive manufacturing process, Additive Friction Stir-Deposition (AFS-D), is being researched to recycle metal waste/scrap at a forward operating base (FOB) to either fabricate new or repair existing components.

In this research, two specific metal waste streams from the deployed Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) units are identified (1) scrap metal from machine chips generated by maintenance-MOS activities and (2) expeditionary airfield (EAF) aluminum landing mats from EAF-MOS activities. These two waste streams generate chips and metal strips, respectively, that have been processed by AFS-D. Whereas in the novel solid-state AFS-D process, metals are deposited additively, layer-by-layer through a hollow rotating tool.

The proposed low-power approach incorporates the advantages of additive manufacturing and grain refining into a single process, allowing fabrication of small and large parts with superior build rates yielding enhanced mechanical properties. The process has been demonstrated with both powder and solid feedstock material. Very importantly for FOB use, the AFS-D process does not require metal powders, which can be difficult, energy intensive, or impractical to produce in-theater.

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Affiliated Interdisciplinary MPNC Faculty

Faculty Department

Sriram Aaleti

Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

Paul G. Allison

Mechanical Engineering

Armen Amirkhanian

Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

Monica Anderson

Computer Science

Jason Bara

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Mark Barkey

Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

Luke N. Brewer

Metallurgical and Materials Engineering

Julia Cartwright

Geological Sciences

Christian Cousin

Mechanical Engineering

Steven R. Daniewicz

Metallurgical and Materials Engineering

Kimberly Genareau

Geological Sciences

Nathan Jeong

Electrical and Computer Engineering

J. Brian Jordon

Mechanical Engineering

Burcu Keskin

Information Systems, Statistics and Management Science

Patrick LeClair

Physics and Astronomy

Andrew Lemmon

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Claudia Mewes

Physics and Astronomy

John Mittenthal

Information Systems, Statistics and Management Science

Kasra Momeni

Mechanical Engineering

Charles Monroe

Metallurgical and Materials Engineering

Samit Roy

Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

Paul Rupar

Chemistry

Gregory Thompson

Metallurgical and Materials Engineering

Alexey Volkov

Mechanical Engineering

Jialai Wang

Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

Mark Weaver

Metallurgical and Materials Engineering

Mesut Yavuz

Information Systems, Statistics and Management Science

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Research Sponsors and Collaborators

The UA MPNC research team are combining their computational and experimental expertise on cutting edge technologies such as Additive Friction Stir-Deposition (AFS-D), Friction Stir Welding (FSW), and Cold Spray (CS) to solve basic and applied problems for the Department of Defense (Air Force, Army, and Navy), Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Highways Administration, and multiple private companies. For information on future collaborations or to join the team please contact us.


INDUSTRY

Boeing

Lockheed-Martin Corporation

Sikorsky

IERUS Technologies

Alfab Inc.

Dynetics

Mercedes-Benz

Bond Technologies

Steel Founders’ Society of America


GOVERNMENT

US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Army Research Lab (ARL)

US Army CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC)

US Army CCDC Aviation & Missile Center (AvMC)

US Army Engineer Research & Development Center

Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP)

Department of Energy (DOE)

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)

Office of Naval Research (ONR)

-    The University of Alabama     |     The College of Engineering    -

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