DARPA and Applied Research Lab at Penn State Choose PARC to Advance Virtual Product Development and Digital Manufacturing

Press Release

Palo Alto, California — PARC, a Xerox company, today announced it has been chosen, as a member of a team led by the Applied Research Laboratory at The Pennsylvania State University, by DARPA to help lay the groundwork for the second phase of Instant Foundry Adaptive through Bits (iFAB) program, to shorten the time it takes to design and manufacture complex military ground vehicles. iFAB is part of DARPA’s Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) program, which PARC has been a part of since 2010.

“We’re seeing a key paradigm shift in design-to-manufacturing as we move from built-to-forecast to design-to-order,” said Stephen Hoover, CEO, PARC. “Hardware designers can devise complex products using integrated, digital manufacturing processes and intelligent ‘software that reasons’ so they don’t have to manage the complexity of simultaneously reasoning about product function, complex manufacturing and assembly, business process, and cost. Instead, the software assists the product designer by helping create designs that are readily manufacturable across a complex value chain. At the core, PARC is building an engine that reasons and helps designers answer the question Can we build this?”

With the Presidential Advanced Manufacturing Partnership funding $2 billion over five years, which includes the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and NIST Advanced Manufacturing Initiative, the time is ripe for manufacturing innovation. PARC has a long and rich history working with DARPA, specifically within the AVM Program, as well as established relationships with target customers in the commercial sector to move this innovation forward.

“PARC is working with clients who are designing and implementing new manufacturing automation and process technologies,” said PARC researcher Tolga Kurtoglu, Intelligent Automation and Model Based Reasoning, and lead on several DARPA projects. “PARC’s core competencies for these projects include systems that interact in the real world, as opposed to cyber-only environments; large-scale and modular systems; on-line, real-time, and continual-input approaches; and integrating high-level planning and reasoning with lower-level coordination and control. We bring decades of experience to customers wanting to take a fresh look at intelligent manufacturing.”

With this radical shift, manufacturers can work together to create a dynamic supply chain for complex assembled systems such as vehicles, airplanes, consumer electronics, and mobile devices that could also be manufactured through rapid prototyping methods including printed electronics and other additive manufacturing techniques. In today’s dynamic product development world, companies are deploying global networks and linking product definitions with business analytics, which can be shared with employees, partners, and customers in real time. These connected databases and tools make it far easier to develop product designs that satisfy customers’ functional and performance requirements. Over time, product developers and manufacturers can begin to create analysis data, such as structural, thermal, dynamic, and cost analyses, giving them a better understanding of what can work together well, prior to ‘making’ hardware. Up until now, the missing piece for complete design automation and manufacturing of complex products has been the coupling of the design and the manufacturing phase. Today, this is typically resolved through multiple design-build-test-redesign iterations leading to longer schedules, capital-intensive manufacturing costs, reduced reliability, and limited reconfiguration and reuse of the manufacturing enterprise.

PARC’s digital manufacturing portfolio of technologies provide the missing engineering capabilities by bringing real-world manufacturing constraints into the product design cycle and identifying early in the design phase manufacturing constraints of a supply chain, ultimately minimizing time to market and improving overall product quality.

About PARC

PARC, a Xerox company is in the Business of Breakthroughs®. Practicing open innovation, we provide custom R&D services, technology, expertise, best practices, and intellectual property to Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies, startups, and government agencies and partners. We create new business options, accelerate time to market, augment internal capabilities, and reduce risk for our clients. Since its inception, PARC has pioneered many technology platforms – from the Ethernet and laser printing to the GUI and ubiquitous computing – and has enabled the creation of many industries. Incorporated as an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox in 2002, PARC today continues the research that enables breakthroughs for our clients’ businesses. 

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