In close collaboration with companies spanning the flat glass manufacturing value chain, this research team will assess changing end user requirements, design tools to measure the impact of this continuous-discrete dichotomy on manufacturing performance, and develop advanced tools that measure organizational culture and structure. The objectives are target R&D efforts on radical innovations in manufacturing operations with the greatest potential impact on long range (2010) competitiveness, and to propose changes in organizational culture and structure needed to implement radical change. The flat glass manufacturing value chain were selected as partners because this manufacturing closely couples large-scale, continuous glass making furnaces to multiple post-furnace discrete-part fabrication and sub-assembly steps which supply end users with diverse flat glass product requirements (e.g. automotive, building products and flat panel display). The team will collaborate in market assessment, model building and validation with company partners from the flat glass industry, and will work with technical and management representatives to ensure that the research learnings are transferable. Modeling of the manufacturing system will address all process and distribution steps from raw materials through production of flat glass to final customer specifications, and will identify key research areas required to achieve radical innovation in manufacturing. Modeling of organizational culture and structure will identify and recommend techniques for overcoming barriers to the development, design, and implementation of radical innovation. An integrated study of the value chain for flat glass manufacturing will identify new approaches to radical innovation in manufacturing and supply infrastructure. The results will stimulate implementation of real time monitoring and control and activity based costing, at the company as well as at the plant level. The knowledge can be transferred throughout the glass indus try and to other mature, material intensive industries through participating company partners, industry organizations and government agencies such as the Department of Energy, Office of Industrial Technology (OIT). Dissemination of research results through conferences, journal papers, training tools, and case studies will significantly impact both theory and practice of innovation. The results will enhance student preparation for industrial and academic careers, and will stimulate further University-Industry partnerships.

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University of Toledo
United States
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