April 19, 2018
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Webinars within the America Makes TRX Webinar Series are intended to provide our membership with valuable insight related to AM and advanced manufacturing.
This webinar “Understanding Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRLs)” will be presented by Mark Gordon, of Mfg Strategy, Inc. Mr. Gordon is a recognized expert in the MRL/TRL space.
The following will be covered during this webinar:
Manufacturing Readiness Levels are used extensively within the Manufacturing USA Institutes Institutes and America Makes, both to specifically identify the scope of investment and to monitor the progress towards commercialization. In general, technology progresses from basic research and development through prototyping to final commercialization and production. The capability to adequately manufacture as technology paces these stages, from laboratory experiments and prototyping to pilot line production of representative designs to manufacturing the final design at scale. These maturing technology and manufacturing processes are captured in Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) and Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRLs). TRLs were initially developed at NASA while MRLs were initially developed by DoD ManTech; both have been adopted for use in Industry. MRLs span a scale of 1-10, where 1 represents basic research studies and 10 represents full scale production with robust process control.
Manufacturing Institutes focus on scale-up activities rather than basic research or early prototyping. Specifically, America Makes focuses on bring technologies which have been demonstrated to be at least MRL 4 “Capability to produce the technology in a laboratory environment” to an MRL of 7 “Capability to produce systems, subsystems, or components in a production representative environment.“ This has been described as the “valley of death” or the “Missing middle” for technology transition because public (Government or University) investments in R&D tend to stop at MRL 4 and product development tends to need an MRL of 7 to be funded by Industry. Companies seek technologies at MRL 6 or 7 because of the drastically reduced risk for product development. By focusing on MRL 4-7, America Makes seeks to accelerate the transition of proven R&D into the U.S. Industrial Base for both economic and national security.
This Webinar will provide a brief history of MRLs and the associated “Body of Knowledge” that has been developed over the past 15 years, including definitions, 23 Threads, the DoD Deskbook, Interactive Guide and best practices. This webinar is specifically aimed at helping proposal teams to grasp a clear understanding of the role of MRLs and avoid common mistakes. For instance, it should be clear to all America Makes members that MRLs do not “transfer,” meaning that simply because an online literature search has uncovered that some university laboratory has successfully demonstrated a prototype does NOT mean that another organization can claim an MRL of 4. Instead, an MRL of 4 requires that an appropriate prototype must have been produced by the team, and that knowledge is captured.
Materials are available at http://dodmrl.com. The Webinar will allow for Q&A by participants.