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SEAMTN Tech Demo 12/9/21

The Southeastern Advanced Machine Tools Network (SEAMTN “see mountain”) hosted its first Tech Demo event on the campus of The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT), on December 9, 2021. The event was another successful step towards implementing SEAMTN’s three thrust areas: to develop, train, and connect in order to strengthen the US national security manufacturing base.

Presentation at event

SEAMTN has been developing its research and training mission with multiple partners, including UT’s Machine Tool Research Center (MTRC)/MSC Machining Research Laboratory and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF). This evening was an opportunity to connect about 30 industry partners and students gathered at the MTRC.

The event showcased multiple technologies:

  1. Tap testing and chatter avoidance in CNC machining
  2. Hybrid manufacturing

Additionally, guest speaker Jaydeep Karandikar, from ORNL’s Intelligent Machine Tools group, presented his current work on machine learning for optimized machining parameter identification.

Michael Gomez, representing MSC Industrial Supply Co., demonstrated MSC MillMax®, a diagnostic solution aimed at improving productivity and efficiency for milling operations. In the current manufacturing landscape, supply chain challenges coupled with an inflationary environment have motivated machining organizations to improve productivity and efficiency on their shop floor with fewer resources. Reaching optimal material removal rates can be expensive and time consuming. Without adding more staff or equipment, machine shops can use this pioneering tool to avoid chatter, or large vibrations that degrade surface quality and cause large machining forces. MSC MillMax® provides expert tooling recommendations with optimized operating parameters, which leads to reduced cycle times and significant cost savings.

“Through the MSC Machining Research Laboratory, the partnership with UT and SEAMTN shows our commitment to supporting efficient manufacturing operations within the United States,” said Jamie Goettler, MSC’s Senior Director of Metalworking Sales and Innovation. “The resulting collaborative efforts will play a critical role in solving real-world metalworking problems and developing the next generation of innovative manufacturing solutions.”

Student demonstrating use of robotic arm

UT graduate students Leah Jacobs, Jake Dvorak, and Buddy Swan demonstrated another cutting edge technology at the MTRC: hybrid manufacturing. Most tooling and special components require some form of hybrid processing that combines additive and subtractive techniques, not necessarily integrated into a single piece of equipment. 

“Robotic wire arc additive manufacturing, structured light scanning part measurement, and CNC machining setup was first class,” commented George Barnych, CTO and VP of Manufacturing Technology Deployment Group, Inc. (MTDG).  “Automating the placement and component registration is key to its hybrid functionality.” 

MTDG is the holding company for its subsidiaries, National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) and Advanced Manufacturing International, Inc. (AMI) two not-for-profit organizations working to advance new technologies and transition them to the small and medium manufacturing industrial base.  NCDMM and AMI plan to work closely with UT and its SEAMTN network to get this technology into the hands of US manufacturers as soon as possible.

Attendees included students and teachers from the University of Tennessee, Pellissippi State Community College, and Oak Ridge High School. Joining them were industry leaders from ORNL, Y-12, Novus Manufacturing Solutions, Flexial, and the U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Center.   

Led by UT, SEAMTN is a consortium of companies, universities, federal laboratories, non-profit organizations, and the Tennessee state government that seeks to strengthen the US national security manufacturing base by investing in machine tools research and development, education, workforce development, and supply chain support. SEAMTN partners have unique expertise, facilities, equipment, and capabilities applicable to machine tools. These tools shape or form parts made of metal, polymers, ceramics, and composites through both material removal (milling, turning, drilling, and grinding) and material addition (wire, powder, or pellet deposition). Machine tools enable prototyping and production operations for most manufactured products—virtually all commercial and defense manufacturers need them. Moreover, in its FY20 Industrial Capabilities Report to Congress, Department of Defense identified machine tools as a critical manufacturing sector that is experiencing declining capacity in the US.