In 2014, Purdue University Northwest’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS) received a $480,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), under the AMTech Program. The grant was provided to help launch a consortium intended to benefit the United States steel industry. Through this AMTech Planning Grant, a series of workshops was held in October and December of 2014, bringing together steel association and steel manufacturing industry experts, academics, and others, to focus on the use of simulation and visualization technologies for advancing and optimizing steel production.
Thus, through this AMTech grant and the vision and contributions of representatives from the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), the Association for Iron & Steel Technology (AIST), CIVS, Purdue University Northwest, steel industry partners, and many others, the Steel Manufacturing Simulation and Visualization Consortium (SMSVC) was formed.
Also through this grant, plans were generated to develop a Technology Roadmap – to identify and prioritize research projects – and to perform pre-competitive collaborative research studies that would apply simulation and visualization technologies toward addressing technological problems and related barriers to growth in the steel industry.
Since that time, the SMSVC has worked steadily toward developing long-term technical solutions for improving efficiency, lowering production costs, advancing steel manufacturing quality, and improving workforce training in the U.S., and many of the most successful implementation examples are chronicled in the officially released Technology Roadmap (August 2018).
“CIVS is honored to lead the development of a national consortium to address critical issues in steel manufacturing,” Chenn Zhou, CIVS director, professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University Northwest, said.
The two-year, advanced manufacturing technology planning grant was among 19 totaling $9 million awarded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to universities and other nonprofit organizations to further consortia development directed at strengthening U.S. manufacturing and innovation performance.
Along with Purdue University Northwest’s CIVS, the SMSVC and other grant recipients will continue to define workforce needs, identify and rank research and development goals, and strive to transfer and improve manufacturing capabilities. In the process, manufacturers and other stakeholders will contribute to technology roadmap development by identifying and prioritizing research projects that reduce barriers to advanced manufacturing growth.
“We look forward to continued collaboration with stakeholders across the steel industry to optimize American steel production and strengthen its competitiveness and impact on the nation’s economy,” Zhou said.
Purdue University Northwest’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation is an interdisciplinary applied research center that combines advanced simulation techniques with 3D visualization and virtual reality technologies to provide innovative solutions in response to industrial and research challenges. CIVS has saved steel and other manufacturing employers 10s of millions of dollars in cost avoidances and production costs alone.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. According to its web site, it serves to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve quality of life.