Additive manufacturing (AM) is poised to transform how we design, develop, and manufacture products. Across the world, companies are recognizing the compelling value of AM and making major investments toward applications including lightweight aircraft components, customized wearable devices, and high-performance tooling. Yet, after nearly three decades of development, AM is still at the infancy of its potential impact. In the future, AM will enable us to design parts with unforeseen properties and performance and to continually deploy rapid advances in materials, process technologies, and computational tools. Both new and conventional manufacturing technologies will converge into flexible, digitally-driven manufacturing systems that enable rapid, responsive production with reduced cost and risk.
The MIT Center for Additive and Digital Advanced Production Technologies (ADAPT), launching in 2017, aims to accelerate the implementation of AM, and to invent its future. As such, ADAPT convenes MIT experts with organizations across the AM value-chain, with a mission to: perform visionary research, continually and critically assess the status of AM technology and its potential, enable confident projection of value propositions, and build resource and talent networks. Taken together, these activities enable ADAPT’s members to implement process, product, and business model innovation leveraging AM along with a rapidly changing digital manufacturing infrastructure that includes robotics, advanced materials, and computational intelligence. ADAPT is led by Professor John Hart, and is based in the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering.
ADAPT’s membership fees support research projects on visionary new AM technologies, breakthrough materials, computational methods, and more. Our research leverages the multidisciplinary strengths of ADAPT’s faculty and students, and enables members to reach beyond the constraints of today’s AM technologies and work hand-in-hand with MIT. In addition, we perform both fundamental and applied research on topics that limit the capabilities of current AM technology, including material properties, process and quality control, and design approaches.
To complement its technical research, ADAPT performs strategic analyses of the present and future capabilities of AM and of digitally-driven manufacturing systems. Broadly, we seek to identify the “scaling laws” of AM technologies and create insights that enable members to act decisively in this rapidly changing arena. These analyses include accurate, up-to-date cost models of AM, tools for value analysis, and a library of case studies derived from member interests. Key insights and detailed reports are shared with members far in advance of academic publication.
ADAPT hosts a flagship Annual Research Symposium, which features cutting-edge developments within MIT and across the fields of digital and additive manufacturing, a members-only annual workshop, and an on-campus regular seminar series available to members by webcast. As such, ADAPT acts as a neutral nexus of collaboration enabling members to form relationships across their value chains. In addition, ADAPT manages a portfolio of AM education initiatives including a week-long summer course at MIT, and an interactive digital course under development in 2017.
ADAPT enables its members to recruit the world's top talent from MIT, and for MIT students to connect with industry leaders in their fields of interest and expertise. Moreover, the Boston area is a hive of manufacturing innovation, including fast-growing startups and world leaders in AM, robotics, design software, materials and automation. Our membership structure welcomes both small and large organizations, and therefore builds a one-of-a-kind ecosystem that accelerates the growth and adoption of AM for all.