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Materials & Manufacturing (MM) | product & process design (ppd)

Product & Process Design is a multi-pronged approach that includes simulation, optimization, collaboration, and by incorporating both existing and emerging technologies. Innovation in design will be achieved in the future through the application of these focus areas, while paying particular attention to aspects of concern in design, namely; system performance, cost, and associated manufacturing processes.

Simulation Based Design (SBD) and virtual prototyping can be used to decrease the time required to formalize a system's concept design space, to quantify operational cost effectiveness of new technologies, to quantify risk, and to expedite technology transfer.  ARL has established a significant capability in Simulation Based Design, starting in the realm of undersea vehicles, and expanding to other platforms such as satellites and ground combat vehicles.  The development of computer-aided design tools and open software architectures has made the integration of design, performance prediction and cost estimation toolsets possible.

Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) is the study of how to design and analyze systems composed of multiple disciplinary models that are coupled.  The disciplinary models can correspond to fields of study (hydrodynamics, structures, acoustics) or they can correspond to physical parts (guidance & control, power generation, propulsor).

A main goal in this research is to develop a design synthesis method to support the conceptual design of complex systems, where the systems are based on high-risk technologies. 

Virtual Design Environments - The next generation of system engineers and decision makers want to explore the possible limits of a design space quickly.  ARL Penn State has developed a virtual conceptual design environment to allow the engineer to virtually explore design trade-offs and the complex design space of an engineering product. The system generates virtual prototype models in a CAVE-like environment that meet a set of user specified requirements and technology options. The user can navigate around the model and interact with the model directly through voice and gesture recognition. The user may vary mission and design requirements and the model will change its form dynamically to meet the new specifications.  In addition to this capability the user can visualize the complex function space of the model and interact with the visualization. A complex function space often involves higher dimensional data sets.  In the immersive environment users will be able to view projections of higher dimensional data onto three-dimensional space, and choose points in the function space to select designs for further analysis. After they choose a point in the function space the virtual prototype will transform to represent the selected design point.

Manufacturing Process Simulation - Closing the loop between product design and manufacturing process design enables engineers to rapidly assess the impact that design changes have on process sequences, product flow, and manufacturing lead times.  A useful method for manufacturing process design is discrete event simulation modeling. 

Integrated Data Environments - The product development lifecycle for any weapons system begins with the definition and capture of customer requirements and proceeds through product design and tradeoffs, analysis and simulation, development of manufacturing processes, testing, and product support. The evolution of a product through these phases involves many transitions of data through the organizations involved with these processes. A significant amount of technology and data may be lost during these transitions, resulting in significant reinvention costs. In many organizations, engineering information is not well managed, and may be scattered throughout the organization in a variety of unconnected databases, computers, and notebooks. Often, data is duplicated in several locations, leading to confusion about which data is the most current.

Flashjet - McDonnell Douglas, now part of the Boeing company, first developed the concept of combining a high intensity Xenon gas (Flash Lamp) light source with a jet of frozen CO2  pellets, to remove paint from surfaces without adversely affecting the substrate material. Flashjet gantry systems are available as commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment from Boeing and are now being used to de-paint components and tactical aircraft.

Exploring Design Variation Across the Web - As a Navy supported research laboratory, ARL Penn State participates in a wide range of technology issues related to our mission to support underwater research and development for the U.S. Navy. As a result of our involvement in this arena, ARL has extensive experience in surface ship propulsor design, specification, fabrication, and testing.

Simulation Based Design for ATT - ARL Penn State has participated in several R&D projects in the area of simulation based design (SBD). This project is one of the first to integrate that technology as a key component of the design process for a Navy program. Penn State has been named as the technology lead in the Anti-Torpedo Torpedo (ATT) program. Early on in that program our program management team made the decision to use SBD to assist in down selecting candidate technologies and configurations with the intent of identifying those that could meet rigorous program requirements. By doing this, savings were realized by avoiding having to build expensive physical prototypes that have historically been required to arrive at the final design configuration.

Reverse Engineering of a Wing Spar - One of the early interest areas of the Product and Process Design department was reverse engineering. Members of the department have participated in numerous projects and exercises in reverse engineering for the Navy, Air Force, Army, and DLA.

Ejector Test Station Modernization - The Jacksonville Florida NADEP operates a test stand, shown in figure one, that test fires rebuilt F-18 missile and external fuel tank ejectors. The purpose of the Ejection Test Station (ETS) modernization project was to replace the outdated and increasingly unreliable electronics and transducers in the original test station console and improve the test data logging capabilities.