Every major improvement in American manufacturing productivity has been achieved through technological innovation. Today, as manufacturers grow more reliant on computers to manage their processes, high-performance computing presents an opportunity for the next great leap in productivity.

The U.S. Department of Energy's High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg), funded by the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), helps American manufacturers make use of the world's most powerful supercomputers and the National Laboratory experts who run them.

The HPC4Mfg program is currently seeking industry partners interested in leveraging HPC resources to make advancements in manufacturing processes for energy savings, improvements to the lifecycle energy consumption of energy-intensive products, and efficiency improvements in energy conversion and storage technologies. Learn more.

High-performance computing (HPC) allows researchers to perform a wider range of virtual experiments than the traditional laboratory testing environment. Using advanced modeling, simulation, and data analysis, supercomputers provide manufacturers with the information they need to save time, energy, and resources. These insights can improve both the competitiveness and the energy efficiency of American manufacturing—a vital step on our path to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Since the program's inception in 2015, 95 manufacturers from a range of industries have turned to the HPC4Mfg program for solutions to complex manufacturing challenges, including:

    PPG came to the program to improve its vehicle spray-painting operations without sacrificing quality. Painting cars is an energy-intensive process that requires about 10,000 gigawatt-hours per year—enough to drain the combined output of the nation's nuclear power plants for four to five days.1 The HPC4Mfg program paired PPG with experts at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, where they used HPC technology to find new ways to reduce energy consumption and material waste. The lab's supercomputers created virtual models of the paint-application process, which helped PPG streamline its operations and achieve projected energy savings of approximately 30%.
    GE Global Research used the HPC4Mfg program to improve powder-bed-based metal printing. In this additive manufacturing process, layer after layer of metal is melted together to form the final product. The characteristics of these layers can vary significantly, making the precision the process requires difficult to achieve. GE worked with HPC experts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to simulate a wide variety of conditions that affect these layers, improving the accuracy of their processes and reducing the amount of wasted metal powder. This could add up to significant energy savings across the additive-manufacturing industry. Saving 25,000 tons of titanium powder results in the use of 4.5 billion fewer kilowatt-hours—enough energy to light one million 8-watt bulbs for a full year.2
    LIFT, a consortium composed of several major aerospace companies, harnessed the power of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's HPC resources to test the use of lighter materials in the production of aircraft engines. The use of lightweight components creates significant fuel savings by lowering the amount of mass that must be moved from one point to another. The HPC4Mfg program accelerated LIFT's testing process by using supercomputing technology to predict the strength of new lightweight materials for aircraft engines. These computational models helped LIFT identify a strong, lightweight material for jet-engine turbine blades with the potential to save the aerospace industry more than 3 million gallons of fuel, or $26 million, per year.3

As American manufacturing continues to evolve, technological innovation will remain the primary engine of progress. By harnessing the power of cutting-edge supercomputing technology, the HPC4Mfg program will help position the U.S. manufacturing sector as a global leader in our march toward a clean-energy future.

HPC4Mfg is funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office and is a subprogram of the High Performance Computing for Energy Innovation (HPC4EI) initiative. HPC4EI is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.


[1] Argonne National Laboratory, “Development of a Performance-based Industrial Energy Efficiency Indicator for Automobile Assembly Plants” (based on a representative U.S. assembly plant which manufactures approximately 225,000 vehicles per year). https://www.energystar.gov/sites/default/files/buildings/tools/AutoEPIBackground.pdf?09a4-ac3c

[2] National Renewable Energy Laboratory and U.S. Department of Energy, Advanced Manufacturing Office, “Bandwidth Study on Energy Use and Potential Energy Saving Opportunities in the Manufacturing of Lightweight Materials: Titanium.” /sites/default/files/2017/12/f46/Titanium_bandwidth_study_2017.pdf

[3] Federal Aviation Administration, “Economic Values for Evaluation of FAA Investment and Regulatory Decisions,” Section 6. https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/policy_guidance/benefit_cost/media/econ-value-section-6-perf-factors.pdf