RPI Awarded Two Technology Projects From Advanced Robotic in Manufacturing (ARM) To Address Critical Manufacturing Needs

Posted March 13, 2023
Asian man with black hair and glasses wearing a yellow sweater and black blazer standing next to an orange robot arm in a lab
RPI only university awarded two projects in program that bridges industry, academia, and government
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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) was awarded two of 11 new technology projects from the Advanced Robotics and Manufacturing (ARM) Institute. The new investment totals more than $7.9 million across the 11 projects. ARM selects projects that address critical needs within the manufacturing sector and aims to combine resources and research of industry, academia, and government to advance critical manufacturing technologies.

The RPI projects awarded funding are:

Convergent Manufacturing Using Multiple Industrial Robots — RPI is the lead PI with a project team that includes GE Research, Wason Technology, Yasakawa America, and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).   

Multi-Robot Task Planning in Large Structure Manufacturing — RPI is the lead PI with a project team that includes Anchor Industries and Pvillon Technologies.


The Convergent Manufacturing Using Multiple Industrial Robots project will enable engineers to scale up performance and productivity by deploying diverse manufacturing processes (additive, subtractive, transformative) on a single product. The project will develop architecture and algorithms to coordinate multiple industrial robots and a suite of sensors from various vendors. Convergent manufacturing has been identified by the Department of Defense as a key enabling technology in defense manufacturing. This project will leverage past ARM projects on motion primitive optimization in the cold spray process and the open-source software system Robot Raconteur. This project is led by John Wen, head of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering (ECSE) and Russell Sage Professor at RPI, with participation of Associate Professor Johnson Samuel in Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering (MANE), ECSE faculty Agung Julius and Santiago Paternain, Senior Research Engineer Glenn Saunders, and four Ph.D. students.

In Multi-Robot Task Planning in Large Structure Manufacturing, researchers will focus on advanced task and motion planning for multiple mobile robots in tent manufacturing. The project will focus on optimizing robot task assignment, timing, and movement to achieve efficiency and safety in cluttered manufacturing environments. The project will advance prior ARM research in collaborative multi-robot transport of large and heavy fabrics. This project is led by Glenn Saunders and Agung Julius, with participation by John Wen and two Ph.D. students.

“We are proud that ARM, the leading consortium in research and development of advanced robotics in the manufacturing industry, recognizes the impactful work being done in manufacturing and robotics at RPI,” said John Wen. “RPI has a long history of deep relationships with industry that, combined with our government connections and research capabilities, positions us to be a key university partner to the ARM Institute and its members. We are excited to continue this leadership role in manufacturing and robotics research.”