Advanced Manufacturing Technology

Competitiveness on a global market relies on the combined ability to provide value to the costumers as well as to respond to the continuous development of customer demands. Hence, the primary objective of SFI Norman's Research Area 1 is the development of manufacturing systems that enable robust and adaptable production as well as competitive manufacturing of high-value products and tools.

The continuous development of customer demands and the current markets impose the need for increased product customization, which implies an increased product variation, smaller batch sizes and shorter product life cycles. In this context, a major challenge lies in achieving, or in some cases rather maintaining, cost efficiency of the manufacturing systems.  Key characteristics of a viable manufacturing system facing strong customization pressure are high performance, high quality and high availability in combination with low labor intensity relative to the customer value creation. This is coherent with the demands for transformation from a resource intensive industry to a knowledge intensive industry. In practice, when applied to the actual manufacturing system this requires on-site generation of decisive knowledge, combined with development and integration of enabling technologies  for flexible manufacturing.

The vision of Research Area 1 is to provide the Norwegian industry with manufacturing technologies that both compensate for comparative structural disadvantages and open up for world class competitiveness concerning productivity, product value, product quality and delivery precision as seen from the target customers' point of view. To underpin this vision the research area focuses on development and integration of knowledge, tools, concepts and technologies that are related to and essential for:

  • Automated, robust and adaptive manufacturing systems
  • Advanced process control and predictive maintenance
  • The integration of additive manufacturing technology in the established manufacturing system, also known as hybrid manufacturing

The main rationale for having adaptivity built into the manufacturing system is that it facilitates production according to the actual market demands instead of the traditional batch-oriented production planning and scheduling. The 'new' production batch is equivalent to a specific customer order and hence, reduces waste and customer-less stock items, and increases cash flow.

Application of advanced control strategies and methods can compensate for insufficient knowledge of the behavior or tolerances of a component in an assembly operation. Furthermore, advanced control can facilitate capabilities such as self-calibration in a manufacturing system. In a wider perspective sensor information combined with intelligent diagnosis and prognosis systems for production equipment has the merits of a key enabling technology base with so many obvious advantages.

Last but not least, additive manufacturing technologies enable manufacturing of extremely complex product geometries in industrial grade materials, which are either too costly or impossible to produce by any other means. However, efficient exploitation of this capability requires that the additive manufacturing machine system can function as an integrated part of the present manufacturing systems, i.e. in a hybrid manufacturing solution.

Hand in hand with the research conducted in this area there is a strong emphasis on laboratory scale demonstration activities. This combination is valuable and essential in order to safeguard and substantiate the industrial relevance and viability.