A U.S. Department of Energy(link is external) (DOE) program designed to spur the use of high performance supercomputers to advance U.S. manufacturing is funding 13 new industry projects for a total of $3.9 million.
The High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) Program unites the world-class computing resources and expertise of the national laboratories with U.S. manufacturers to teach them how to adopt or advance their use of high performance computing (HPC) to address manufacturing challenges. The program aims to optimize production processes, enhance product quality and speed up design and testing cycles while decreasing energy consumption.
The program is led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and its partners Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory(link is external) (LBNL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (link is external)(ORNL). For the first time, the program has expanded to include other participating laboratories Argonne National Laboratory(link is external), theNational Renewable Energy Laboratory(link is external) (NREL) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory(link is external) (NETL), which bring significant new expertise and capabilities to the program.
“This third round of projects represent an excellent mix of challenges that the national laboratories can help address. The proposals were all extremely high quality, and we’re excited about the opportunities we’ll have to impact manufacturing across a wide range of topic areas,” said LLNL mathematician Lori Diachin, director of the HPC4Mfg program.
The 13 new projects include: LLNL and ORNL partnering with various manufacturers (Applied Materials, GE Global Research and United Technologies Research) to improve additive manufacturing processes that use powder beds to reduce material use, reduce defects and surface roughness and improve overall quality of the resulting parts; LLNL partnering with LanzaTech Inc. to develop a multiphase CFD model for turbulent bubbly flow in airlift bioreactors; ORNL collaborating with The Timken Company to improve reliability and lifetime of wind turbines; LBNL partnering with Samsung Semiconductor Inc. to improve the performance of semi-conductor devices by enabling better cooling through the interconnects; Ford Motor Company partnering with ANL to understand how manufacturing tolerances can impact the fuel efficiency and performance of spark-ignition engines; and NREL partnering with 7AC technologies to model liquid/membrane interfaces to improve the efficiency of air conditioning systems. An additional project, a collaboration among LLNL, NETL and 8 Rivers Capital to study coal-based Allam cycle combustors, will be co-funded by DOE‘s Fossil Energy Program.
The Advanced Manufacturing Office(link is external) within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (link is external)(EERE) funded LLNL to establish the HPC4Mfg Program in March 2015. The Advanced Scientific Computing Research Program(link is external) within DOE’s Office of Science and DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory both support the program with HPC cycles through its Leadership Computing Challenge allocation program.
So far, 42 projects have been funded through the HPC4Mfg program, ranging from improving turbine blades for aircraft engines to reducing heat loss in electronics to improving fiberglass production. Partners range from small to large companies, industry consortiums and institutes.
By using HPC in the design of products and industrial processes, U.S. manufacturers can reap a number of benefits, such as accelerating innovation, lowering energy costs, reducing waste and rejected parts and cutting the time to market.
Scientists at the national labs benefit by expanding computer codes and applying them to different problem areas. The skills and new applications they develop through these public-private partnerships can then be applied to DOE missions in such areas as energy, materials science and national security.
Although the program is presently focused on using national lab HPC resources to bolster manufacturing, other fields, such as transportation, materials under extreme conditions, the modern electrical grid and advanced integrated circuitry also could benefit.
For a full list of the projects, go to the web.