Principal investigator: Antonios Kontsos

University: Drexel University

Industry partners: Oat Foundry LLC

The objective of this proposal is to develop methods and protocols aimed at Product Smart Manufacturing. As we enter the era of Industry 4.0, data interconnectivity and adaptability across multiple production platforms is paramount. A digital thread can be used to link a product’s design conceptualization to its final scaled manufacturing, with no loss of information in between (due to changes, tolerance corrections, material properties). More specifically to this proposal, the Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Group (TAMG), under the direction of Antonios Kontsos, has partnered with Oat Foundry LLC, a Philadelphia-based engineering design studio, which specializes in prototyping and producing a variety of products to develop a product smart manufacturing strategy that can be used in Oat Foundry’s Split Flap product line. The goal is to utilize an engineering design approach combined with design analysis and optimization, manufacturing process simulation, prototyping, and manufacturing management and evaluation to improve the gearing mechanism used to rotate the carousel of alphanumeric plates on the Split Flap product and in addition to the gearing mechanism, products that Oat Foundry is working on (for example ventilators and respiratory masks) in relation to the COVID crisis. To this end, TAMG will utilize its expertise in computational simulation, its understanding of manufacturing methodologies (conventional and additive), and its know-how in mechanical testing and characterization of materials to assist Oat Foundry in implementing a digital thread approach in the production of this gearing mechanism, while meeting existing production rate and cost constraints. Oat Foundry has provided TAMG at Drexel University with a unique opportunity to innovate their gearing mechanism by not only improving its overall design and performance characteristics, but by also developing an optimized manufacturing scalability plan for mass production which can be replicated in other products and manufacturing methods. As the gear set is part of an actual commercial product, market success criteria will be used to directly assess the benefits of the proposed 12-month approach.