aPriori, a provider of enterprise product cost management software solutions, today announced that its platform has been selected by the Applied Research Lab at Penn State University (ARL-PSU) to support its recent contract award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). ARL-PSU will use aPriori as an automated back-end solution for optimizing manufacturing cycle time and product costs for DARPA's Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) program. The goal of AVM is to reduce the development cycle time for complex defense systems by a factor of five, according to DARPA.
"To effectively address cycle time, we need to understand the cost and time impact of different processes and materials much earlier in the product lifecycle," said Dr. Mark Traband, the lead investigator for ARL-PSU. "aPriori's ability to interpret CAD data and use that to rapidly estimate the cost of manufacturing components utilizing different manufacturing processes and materials is a critical component to the success of this project."
ARL-PSU has been developing advanced systems for the United States Navy and other Department of Defense organizations for 67 years. This includes extensive experience with complex manufacturing systems, large IT systems, enterprise applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and product lifecycle management (PLM), relational database management systems and various middleware, web and Internet technologies. Leading the Instant Foundry Adaptive Through Bits (iFAB) effort, the manufacturing arm of the DARPA AVM portfolio, ARL-PSU is working to develop an automated, end-to-end solution that provides real-time manufacturing routing and cycle time data along with detailed production cost estimates. These tools are intended to evaluate submissions on a series of design challenges being released by DARPA related to a new generation of military ground vehicles.
aPriori's Product Cost Management software platform will enable ARL-PSU to determine the cost and manufacturability of a design by pulling geometric and feature information from any 3D CAD model. The software leverages intelligent cost models based on the manufacturing process, materials and the plant where a product or part will be produced. It is anticipated that this knowledge will help iFAB and DARPA understand product cost and cycle time implications earlier in the product lifecycle and target the optimal suppliers, manufacturing processes and materials for its new defense vehicles.
"The concept of deploying an automated engine for costing and manufacturing analysis powered by aPriori can have tremendous benefit on cycle time optimization, product cost and innovation for any manufacturer," said Stephanie Feraday, president and CEO of aPriori. "Given that more and more large manufacturers are relying on their supply chain to design and manufacture a substantial portion of their products, we expect to see this approach really take hold in the broader marketplace over the next few years. It requires the right technology platform and consulting expertise to implement and support this kind of automated, end-to-end process, and aPriori can deliver both to its customers."