USC is launching their new Center for Advanced Manufacturing on February 24, 2017. In preparation for that, we spoke with Dr. Satyandra Kumar “SK” Gupta, the center’s Director, to learn a little more about what they are cooking up at USC.

Krisztina “Z” Holly: Tell us what you are up to!

Dr. SK Gupta: USC Viterbi School of Engineering is launching a Center for Advanced Manufacturing. It focuses on enabling innovation through advances in manufacturing. The center will develop next generation technologies to enable realization of products that are not possible with the current technologies. Technologies developed at the center will also speed up the time needed to bring new products to market and reduce the waste in the manufacturing operations. The center will enhance the learning experiences of students at USC Viterbi School of Engineering and train them to become successful innovators and entrepreneurs.

Z: What inspired the center?

SKG: Manufacturing is a large fraction of Southern California’s economy. We want to help manufacturing organization grow in the Southern California region and create new jobs. We think advanced manufacturing will also be an integral part of the emerging Silicon Beach ecosystem.

USC has a lot of expertise in robotics, 3D Printing, Internet of Things, Big Data, machine learning, augmented & virtual Reality, systems engineering, and materials. These areas are expected to play an important role in advanced manufacturing. We can bring this expertise together to enable innovation in manufacturing.

Z: Who do you serve?

SKG: We will serve students so they have hands-on experience to understand advanced manufacturing. We will also serve area businesses and scholars across USC who may need to collaborate and rapidly prototype their new concepts. We also plan to work closely with aerospace or biomedical device industries located in the Southern California region.

Z: Tell us about how you support the community.

SKG: We will help local companies by developing manufacturing technologies to meet their needs and giving them access to machines in the center. We will offer short courses in the advanced manufacturing area to engineers interested in learning new skills. We will help local community colleges and high schools students by giving them demonstrations of the latest manufacturing technologies.

Z: What trend in the industry are you the most excited about these days?

SKG: The ability of new additive manufacturing processes to eliminate constraints associated with traditional design.

Z: What are your three tips for companies and entrepreneurs to drive or adapt to that trend?

SKG: 1. Redesign products to take full advantage of the new process capabilities, 2. Invest in workforce training to fully exploit the new additive manufacturing processes, and 3. Rethink your business models and supply chains.

Z: What’s next and what are you especially excited about for the organization in the next year?

SKG: Of course, the Center inauguration on February 24th. I’m also excited about launching new courses, bringing new students to the center, and working with the SoCal manufacturing community.

Z: How can people find out more?

SKG: Please visit our website


About Professor Satyandra Kumar “SK” Gupta

Dr. Satyandra K (SK) Gupta is the Director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and the Smith International Professor in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department at USC Viterbi School of Engineering. He is interested in automation problems arising in computer-aided design, manufacturing automation, and robotics. His current research is mainly focused on physics-aware planning in robotics applications. Prior to joining USC, he was a professor and the founding director of the Maryland Robotics Center and the Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory at the University of Maryland. He also served as a Program Director for the National Robotics Initiative at the National Science Foundation from September 2012 to September 2014. Prior to joining the University of Maryland, he was a Research Scientist in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He has received several honors and awards including a Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research in 2000, a Robert W. Galvin Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

The interview has been edited for clarity.