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TMI ATC Holds Thermal Manufacturing Advanced Technology Roadmapping Workshops

November 04, 2014
Source: ASM International

In October, the newly founded Thermal Manufacturing Industries Advanced Technology Consortium (TMI ATC) convened representatives from all aspects of the thermal manufacturing value chain at two collaborative workshops to identify common technical needs and priorities across the industries that rely on thermal manufacturing. The results of the workshops—one of which was held in Nashville in conjunction with Furnaces North America and the other in Pittsburgh in conjunction with MS&T'14—will form the basis for a comprehensive R&D roadmap that will  guide the thermal manufacturing community's technology development and implementation efforts over the next five years.

ASM was represented at the roadmapping workshops along with close to 40 equipment manufacturers, process implementers, end-use industry representatives, and technology suppliers within academia, national laboratories, and professional associations and societies. The workshops represent a significant step forward in TMI ATC's national effort to conduct a cross-industry approach to the research, development, and sustainable implementation of advanced thermal manufacturing technologies.

TMI ATC—founded earlier this year by a combination of academic institutes, national laboratories, and professional associations and societies, including ASM—is working to bridge the gaps between the traditional pockets of thermal manufacturers that exist throughout the manufacturing sector. With initial funding from a NIST Advanced Manufacturing Technology program grant, TMI ATC is leading the development of the R&D roadmap as well as building itself into a consortium that can facilitate advanced technology implementation and stability.

Participants at the roadmapping workshops took part in highly interactive discussions, through which they identified and prioritized technical gaps and barriers that currently constrain the advancement and integration of advanced technologies. For example, the lack of advanced modeling and simulation technology to enable a better understanding of materials properties during thermal processing is a challenge that rose to the top, as did the general unwillingness companies have to be an early adopter of disruptive technology, among others. 

Below are additional top gaps/barriers identified at the workshops:

  • Lack of opportunities, particularly for small and medium enterprises, to learn about, try, and gather cost data about new technologies

  • Lack of a common platform for workforce development

  • Insufficient material and process data due to the high cost and time requirements of generating accurate data, scarcity of facilities with the necessary capabilities, insufficient recognition of the value of data, and difficulty of performing tests

Workshop participants also identified and prioritized activities to develop, adapt, and implement advanced manufacturing technologies into thermal manufacturing industries in the next five years. Example activities include providing demonstration and educational resources through TMI ATC member associations, developing thermal manufacturing industry knowledge bases to facilitate collaboration, and investigating existing thermal process technologies for use in novel applications, such as heating technologies like induction, gas convection, and infrared. 

Below are additional top activities identified at the workshops: 

  • Conduct modeling and simulation demonstrations (for material development and selection, for optimizing processes)

  • Develop and adapt advanced sensors and alloys for implementation in thermal manufacturing processes

TMI ATC is currently synthesizing the results of the workshops, as well as input from expert interviews and a state-of-the-art literature review, into the Thermal Manufacturing Advanced Technology Roadmap, which will be published by the end of March 2015. The resulting roadmap will help guide TMI ATC's efforts as it works to achieve the coordination and critical mass needed to overcome lingering technical challenges and successfully transfer available technologies.

TMI ATC is continuously looking for feedback and input from members of the thermal manufacturing community. Visit the TMI ATC website to see how you can get involved.


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