aPriori work flow concept (via aPriori)
Companies and institutions often find themselves incurring additional overhead and labor costs when designing or developing new products, which can, and often does, lead to increased time before the product is manufactured. While these companies and institutions have found ways of overcoming these issues one in particular has acquired a software solution that, for lack of a better word, serves as a behind the scenes manager of sorts. The software in question is known as the aPriori Product Cost Management platform and was recently adopted by Penn State’s Applied Research Lab for their DDM (Direct Digital Manufacturing) technology solution for DARPA’s AVM (Adaptive Vehicle Make) initiative.
The software provides a precise real-time cost analysis for product models based on CAD design, materials, manpower and even factors in the facility where the product is to be created. The software also includes ‘predictive modeling’ which factors in cost before the product is even sent to be manufactured. It’s able to calculate this by using various factors such as the CAD design (refactors the cost when changes are made in real-time), material specifications (taken from the CAD design material specification as well as the amount of material needed), the manufacturing plan (looks for the cheapest way to manufacture the product based on the facility used) and outsourcing (looks at what facilities are the cheapest for manufacturing as well as material suppliers).
The Applied Research Lab chose this software in an effort to provide DARPA with the most cost-effective and timely solution for the AVM project, which is centered on the next generation weapons systems for future military vehicles. DARPA’s AVM initiative focuses on three specific areas to achieve these next-gen systems and includes META (AVM design tools for model-based design systems/cyber-physical systems), Instant Foundry Adaptive through Bits (iFAB- foundry-style manufacturing capability) and Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Vehicle (FANG) programs and weapons systems. DARPA has always relied on efficiency as a cost-effective way to develop future technologies, and the aPriori software platform will certainly help their partners at Penn State do just that.