Ross Brindle

This week The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) released a new report, Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME): Implementing ICME in the Aerospace, Automotive, and Maritime Industries. The report is intended to be used as a practical handbook for those attempting to accelerate product development programs by applying ICME toolsets and methods. As Nexight CTO Warren Hunt mentioned in the blog last month, it is most certainly an important step toward “ICME for All.”

The report broadly defines ICME as “the integration of personnel (e.g., engineers, designers, etc.), computational models, experiments, design, and manufacturing processes across the product development cycle, for the purpose of accelerating and reducing the cost of development of a materials system or manufacturing process.” Clearly, that definition places ICME directly in line with the goals of the Materials Genome Initiative to discover, manufacture, and deploy advanced materials twice as fast and at a fraction of the cost.

Nexight Group played a key role in developing the report. First, we facilitated in-depth working sessions with three expert groups focused on the aerospace, automotive, and maritime industries. At each workshop, we collectively created frameworks to depict how an ICME-accelerated product development process would fit into existing processes within that sector and identified specific, relevant ICME toolsets at each step.

We also facilitated a fourth group, which identified pervasive issues that must be addressed when implementing ICME in any industry. These pervasive issues include the following:

  • Creating a business case for ICME
  • Implementing effective verification and validation, risk mitigation, and tolerance of models and linking tools
  • Establishing adequate standards, data, and integration, particularly in manufacturing supply chains
  • Encouraging integration among product design, structures, materials, and manufacturing
  • Addressing the need for personnel with ICME expertise
  • Managing and mitigating uncertainty quantification and risk

Following the four facilitated sessions, Nexight technical writers worked side-by-side with our in-house engineers and colleagues at TMS to draft the report and represent the highly complex frameworks in an easy-to-follow visual format.

My personal hope is that this report gives guidance and confidence to would-be ICME practitioners and allows them to champion the use of ICME in their companies’ product development programs. New initiatives like the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation (LM3I) Institute will accelerate the adoption of ICME and help make it accessible by more than just large organizations with deep pockets. If this study does help more companies adopt ICME, the materials community will be taking significant, concrete steps toward “ICME for All.”