Case Western Reserve University team leads federally funded effort to generate manufacturing technology roadmap

A Case Western Reserve University research team will lead an effort to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) and sensing to improve materials and processing in manufacturing, part of a long-term, federally funded strategy to strengthen U.S. innovation and industrial productivity.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently awarded a combined $2.08 million to seven organizations in six states to develop “manufacturing technology roadmaps.”

The Case Western Reserve-led team will lead the work to integrate AI and machine-learning (ML) with data from traditional materials science and manufacturing processes and a wide range of sensors.

“The goal is to improve the ability to use AI/ML to improve the full product lifecycle—product design, material selection, process design, quality assurance, service life,” said Nick Barendt, executive director of the Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems (ISSACS) at Case Western Reserve and leader of the NIST project.

“This technology roadmap—synthesized from literature reviews, interviews with researchers and industry experts and workshops—will improve the nation’s ability to design and manufacture the highest performing and most reliable, durable and high-quality products,” he said.

Among several other partners on the project are three Case School of Engineering researchers:

The research team plans to bring together “stakeholders from across the country, experts with deep insights in all aspects of design and manufacturing,” Barendt said. “This is an effort to look out over the next 20-plus years to see what technologies need to be created and the related workforce required to spur the manufacturing ecosystem across the United States.”

That broad, long-term approach separates the NIST project from another federally funded project Barendt and Case Western Reserve are leading to help regional small- and medium-sized manufacturers adopt “smart manufacturing” technologies, he said. In March, Case Western Reserve and several partners launched a new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Center, one of four nationally in partnership with CESMII–the Smart Manufacturing Institute, and with support from the U.S. Department of Energy and other key partners.

* The text for this article was reproduced in its entirety from the June 9, 2022 edition of CWRU's The Daily. For more information, contact Mike Scott at