arm-main.jpg Courtesy of American Security Today

Fluid Power in Advanced Manufacturing to Benefit from Federal Grant

The Department of Defense announced an $80 million grant awarded to Carnegie Mellon’s American Robotics, Inc.—a nonprofit company leading the Advanced Robotics in Manufacturing (ARM) Institute. In accepting the grant, ARM will become the eighth DoD-led Manufacturing Innovation Institution (MII) with a focus on Robots in Manufacturing Environments (RIME). MIIs are invested in developing technologies that will build on smart and autonomous systems to make U.S manufacturing more competitive worldwide. The grant is expected to be matched with $173 million in cost shares from ARM's industry, academic, and government partners.

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While some partners contribute research for software, artificial intelligence, and visual systems, the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) will contribute human scale fluid-power research that could improve the performance of industrial robots. The CCEFP recently began submitting research proposals to ARM, and officially became a partner last December. A consortium of researchers, educators, students, and industry professionals, the CCEFP leads projects looking to transform the way fluid power is researched, applied, and studied. 

Kim A. Stelson, Director of CCEFP, explains, “This award validates the CCEFP research strategy in three ways: First, it shows the wisdom of using pooled industry funds to support CCEFP administration. This can facilitate obtaining research funding from the government, greatly increasing the impact of the funds. Second, shows that it is possible to team up with a larger group of universities and companies to secure Manufacturing USA Innovation Institute funding. It may not be feasible for the fluid power industry to commit such large sums by itself. Third, it shows the potential of human-scale fluid power research to open up new markets for fluid power.”

ARM will apply the grant to its innovation hub near its headquarters in Pittsburgh. The facility will be used not only for R&D, but also to provide training to an emerging workforce in R&D, maintenance, and other technical skills that will be in high demand for automated factories. A part of ARM's mission statement is to prepare small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to adopt autonomous technologies that will enable them to remain competitive with larger corporations globally.

Companies and universities interested in joining the ARM Institute should contact Eric Barth, CCEFP Deputy Director for Human-Scale Fluid Power at [email protected]. Learn more about ARM at www.arminstitute.org

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