Fluid Power Journal

CCEFP Universities and Companies Awarded DOD Robotics Funding

The Department of Defense announced that the 14th Manufacturing USA Innovation Institute for “Robotics in Manufacturing Environments” has been awarded to the Advanced Robotics in Manufacturing (ARM) Institute. This grant will enable $80 million in government funds to be matched with $173 million in cost share for a total of $253 million over five years.

A team of CCEFP researchers from universities and industry is part of the ARM Institute. Four CCEFP universities are on the grant: Marquette, Purdue, Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Vanderbilt. Six CCEFP supporting organizations are also on the grant: Bimba, Eaton, Enfield, Innotronics, NFPA, and Parker Hannifin.

This award validates the CCEFP research strategy in three ways:

  1. It shows the wisdom of using pooled industry funds to support CCEFP administration. This can facilitate obtaining research funding from the government, greatly increasing the impact of the funds.
  2. It shows that it is possible to team up with a larger group of universities and companies to secure Manufacturing USA Innovation Institute funding. It may not be feasible for the fluid power industry to commit such large sums by itself.
  3. It shows the potential of human-scale fluid power research to open up markets for fluid power.

Eric Barth, CCEFP deputy director for Human-Scale Fluid Power, has led this effort. A key accomplishment is that he persuaded the academic robotics research community of the advantage of using fluid power for human-scale applications because of its high power density.

Although it is always better to join the team at the proposal stage, there may still be opportunities for companies and universities to join the ARM Institute. If you are interested, please contact Eric at 615-322-1893 or eric.j.barth@vanderbilt.edu.

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