Poster Presentation: Improving Manufacturing Productivity: The Industrial Assessment Center Program

Manufacturing accounts for about 33% of all primary energy consumed in the USA, and energy use in the industrial sector is projected to increase through the year 2050 (2019 Annual Energy Outlook, Energy Information Administration). The corresponding greenhouse gas emissions are equally significant, making it essential to curb industrial energy use through appropriate policy. One US federal program that has been in place since 1976 is the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) program, funded by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. There are currently 28 IACs at universities throughout the USA. Each IAC consists of a team of engineering students, led by engineering faculty, who conduct site visits at small- and medium-sized manufacturers for the purpose of identifying cost-effective energy efficiency, waste reduction (including water), and productivity improvement opportunities. These opportunities are communicated to the industrial facilities in confidential reports, and anonymized and submitted to a publicly available database. To date the IACs have conducted nearly 19,000 assessments, with average recommended annual cost savings of almost $137,000. In addition to providing these free assessments to manufacturers, the IACs also serve to educate a large number of students by applying their engineering knowledge to real-world industrial applications. This poster presentation highlights the impacts of the IAC program, and discusses how the IAC program can potentially be replicated in non-industrial sectors domestically or more broadly outside the USA.


  • Patrick Phelan, Ph.D., Professor, Arizona State University