Viterbi inaugurates Center for Advanced Manufacturing

Since last January, robotics expert S.K. Gupta led the Viterbi School of Engineering’s latest project — the Center for Advanced Manufacturing. After a full 13 months of development, CAM held its grand opening last Friday.

Located in downtown Los Angeles, the 6,000-square-foot establishment will equip students with firsthand knowledge and experience with advanced technologies. Funding for research projects at the center will come from a wide variety of sponsors, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Defense.   

“It’s amazing to see what kind of impact it has on a national level,” said Kyler Correia, a freshman majoring in chemical engineering. “By pairing ourselves with institutes such as the Department of Defense, we truly establish ourselves as one of the top universities in the country.”

The center will provide new and advanced technologies such as affordable 3-D printing, machines and equipment to support additive manufacturing, robotics, machining, polymer processing, augmented reality and virtual reality. These amenities will be available not only to the USC community, but also communities beyond Los Angeles and California.

“CAM will enable the Southern California community to learn about advanced manufacturing and its relationship to innovation,” Gupta said.

This knowledge can be used to make informed decisions about careers in manufacturing, develop innovative products by exploiting advanced manufacturing capabilities and grow manufacturing businesses in  the L.A. area, according to Gupta.

“It’s amazing to see what USC adds to the community,” Correia said. “The potential for what CAM can do not only for the students and for Los Angeles, but for the world is limitless.”

CAM’s main purpose is to conduct basic and applied research to enable advances in manufacturing. More specifically, this goal would be attained by developing interdisciplinary manufacturing education programs by supporting K-12 communities in the Southern California region. According to Correia, by providing manufacturing services to students and inventors, these populations can better serve the Los Angeles community.

“The USC Center for Advanced Manufacturing is poised to become the premier research and innovation center on advanced manufacturing in the greater Los Angeles area,” said Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos. “It will serve the academic community and also help support the fast-growing technological ecosystem in Silicon Beach.”

CAM will feature classrooms for the training and instruction of undergraduates and graduate-level students, a design studio, machine lab and industrial robots.

“I’m really excited to be attending an institution that is constantly providing its students with new and advanced resources,” said Jerry Tejada, a freshman majoring in computer science/business administration. “CAM’s objectives truly represent the tie and impact that USC has on the enrichment of the L.A. community.”

The Center for Advanced Manufacturing will function as a resource for students and businesses, and also as the site of manufacturing for a number of companies in the aerospace and biomedical industries. The aim of this initiative is to bring down the cost of medical devices with a more market-friendly approach.

“Innovation in manufacturing can speed up creation of new products, and cost-effective manufacturing can enable products to be made closer to the customers,” Gupta said.

Shunta Hashimoto, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, applauded the University for developing the program. 

“It is remarkable that USC and Viterbi are taking the proper steps and initiatives to be the forefront of this issue,” Hashimoto said.