The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology has announced that it will renew a multiyear research award under the Advanced Technology Program to Abrasive Technology Aerospace Inc. (Westerville, Ohio) to develop innovative computer-aided design and manufacturing technology for the rapid design and precision manufacture of electroplated superabrasive grinding wheels.
The NIST award renewal is for $570,747. The original three-year project, begun in 1995, was projected to receive a total of approximately $1,996,000 in ATP funding, matched by approximately $1,038,000 in industry funding.
Advanced Technology Program awards are designed to help industry pursue risky, challenging technologies that have the potential for a big pay-off for the nation’s economy. ATP projects focus on enabling technologies that will create opportunities for new, world-class products, services and industrial processes, benefiting not just the ATP participants but other companies and industries—and ultimately consumers and taxpayers. The ATP’s cost-shared funding enables industry to pursue promising technologies that otherwise would be ignored or developed too slowly to compete in rapidly changing world markets.
Detailed information on this project, Rapid Fabrication of Superabrasive Grinding Tools, is provided below.
Grinding accounts for about one-fifth of the automobile industry's investment in machining operations. That share is expected to grow as the industry increases its use of hard-to-machine advanced materials, such as ceramics and superalloys, and as it strives to reduce the number of steps involved in producing a part to final dimensions. Both trends are making superabrasive grinding technology a superior alternative to conventional grinding, turning, and other machining. The new high-speed grinding technology removes material at significantly faster rates, while achieving far more exacting dimensional tolerances. However, U.S. manufacturers and their machine tool suppliers have lagged the competition in applying superabrasive grinding materials—cubic boron nitride and industrial diamonds—that were pioneered in the United States. Abrasive Technology Aerospace proposes to develop basic design and process capabilities that will help the nation's highly fragmented grinding tool industry overcome this gap by making superabrasive grinding technology cheaper and more attractive to domestic end users. The company aims to develop an integrated computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) approach for applying superabrasive coatings to complex surfaces. Initially, it will enhance an existing computer model of electrodeposition to achieve high-quality coatings of superabrasive materials on complex form grinding wheels. This technology will serve as a platform for developing separate CAD and CAM stations, which, after testing and refinement, will be combined into a prototype integrated system. Abrasive Technology Aerospace predicts that advanced capabilities eventually resulting from this technology would reduce the cost of precision-plated, superabrasive grinding wheels by 50 percent, while reducing turnaround time by 90 percent—to within three days of receiving a customer's order. In addition to the automotive and electrodeposition industries, manufacturers of aircraft, heavy machinery, bearings, and engines and turbines are expected to benefit significantly, leveraging the advantages of superabrasive grinding into key process and product improvements.
Abrasive Technology Aerospace, Inc.
Technologies: Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Technology
Project length: 3 years
ATP funds: $1,996 K
Cost-shared funds (est.): $1,038 K
Total project funds (est.): $3,034 K
Contact: John R. Bush, (614) 548-4100 ext. 165, jbush [at] abrasive-tech.com