Here where small companies can access robotics
Layer by metal layer, a complex component began to take shape with the help of an additive manufacturing machine known as a 3 D printer to most people and a clutch of USC engineering kids pandora bracelets and charms students at the region's newest center devoted to building better stuff and creating jobs.
The part was being made for a Southern California company that was trying out an improved design but didn't have the machinery to produce something involving complicated shapes and angles.
"We looked at the geometry and said 'we should be able to,' and we printed it for them," said Satyandra K. Gupta, a USC professor and director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing.
The collaboration with the company, which had asked Gupta for complete secrecy to avoid tipping off competitors, was one of the first for the Center for Advanced Manufacturing.
The facility opened in February as part of a $253 million Defense Department sponsored consortium of dozens of corporations, schools, nonprofits and local governments around the country.
Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times
An industrial robot named Baxter, produced by Rethink Robotics, stands poised to work at USC's Center for Advanced Manufacturing.
An industrial robot named Baxter, produced by Rethink Robotics, stands poised to work at USC's Center for Advanced Manufacturing. manufacturing by making robotics, 3 D printers and other advanced devices plus a workforce trained to operate them available to small and mid sized businesses that have been slow to embrace such innovation. The idea is to bolster research, spur business investment, create jobs and boost worker productivity.
The initiative, in turn, is part of Manufacturing USA, the federal government's 5 year old effort to build a national manufacturing research infrastructure pandora sale beads that will develop new products and markets and help reduce the shortage of technically trained manufacturing workers. manufacturers have added 800,000 jobs since the recession ended in 2009, reaching 12.3 million jobs in March. But that still lags behind the 13.7 million manufacturing jobs in December 2007, as the recession was starting.
At the USC center, aerospace and biomedical industries will be getting particular attention to "help support the fast growing technological ecosystem in Silicon Beach," said Yannis C. Yortsos, dean of the Viterbi School of Engineering, which houses the manufacturing facility.
The center has access to USC faculty with expertise beyond advanced manufacturing technology to include augmented and virtual reality, machine learning and the continuing evolution of Internet connected devices. doesn't have a disadvantage because labor costs are lower in many foreign countries.
"We just don't do things here because they are interesting," Gupta said. "There should be a practical application. Is this something a business can use? If the answer is yes, that makes it worth doing."
We want to be able to share lessons learned, best practices. Frank Flores, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems The center has been funded by the Defense Department, the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technologies. USC is contributing faculty, equipment and space, and Jabil Circuit Inc. donated five robots. Companies will be charged for their projects.
On most days, the center is a busy place. In one part of the 6,000 square foot center, 3 D printers are making parts from metal powder and other materials. Students are trained in the printers' programming, operation and maintenance.
Industrial robots dominate another section of the lab. One is being taught to polish all the nooks and crannies of a geometrically complex part.
"We're basically building a smart assistant," said Brual Shah, a 27 year old native of Mumbai, India, who is a post doctoral research associate.
Northrop Grumman Corp. is among the companies involved with the Defense Department initiative and the USC center.
The reason: "We want to be able to share lessons learned, best practices," said Frank Flores, vice president of engineering product development at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, which is based in Redondo Beach. "We want to learn from each other."
Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times
Morf3D Chief Technology Officer Melissa Orme and CEO Ivan J. Madera with the company's 3 D printers.
Morf3D Chief Technology Officer Melissa Orme and CEO Ivan J. Madera with the company's 3 D printers. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
At the other end of the size spectrum is Morf3D, a 2 year old El Segundo start up that built an engine mount for the SpaceIL project, one of the five finalist entries in the Google Lunar X Prize competition, which will award $20 million to the first team landing a privately funded rover on the moon.
During a recent visit which jewellers sell pandora to the manufacturing center, Morf3D Chief Technology Officer Melissa Orme said she and Chief Executive Ivan J. Madera want to develop lighter and stronger metal alloys with USC's help. They're also looking for future employees.
"We see the usefulness in the students, having a workforce that's trained in additive manufacturing," Orme said. "So that will be a really nice pipeline for us."
Among those students are Jordi Sim and Cady Gooding, who were at the USC center working on a drone called pandora charm warranty Robo Raven, which flaps its mylar and carbon fiber wings as a bird would. The drone is meant to help farmers reduce crop losses.
"Pest birds are the problem," said Sim, an aerospace and computer engineering student.
"They tried scarecrows. Nothing was as good as a falconer with his bird, but that cost a couple of hundred dollars a day."
Gooding figures the project, which has a wing span of 3 feet, is not only practical, it's helping with her goal of working in commercial aerospace.
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