R&D Capabilities

OMIC R&D applied research projects are designed to solve the metallurgy and manufacturing challenges faced by its Member companies. Applied research focuses on designing and delivering solutions to Industry 4.0 manufacturing challenges for member companies.

A Collaborative Innovation Environment

OMIC R&D brings together manufacturing companies and higher education in an innovation environment where “outside-in” applied research with faculty and university students solves real problems for advanced manufacturers. Our direct-to-production applied research addresses relevant problems with immediate manufacturing responses. This type of rapid response in an innovation environment that is right “on the floor” adds value and addresses problem sets in a timely manner.

"Boeing needs to be on the cutting edge of technology, and OMIC R&D will provide the world-class equipment and facilities that are critical for our success. The industry/university research partnerships supported by OMIC R&D are critical to our technology development."

Bill Gerry

As a manufacturing R&D center, OMIC is identifying and developing unique technologies and expertise that can be transferred to regional, national, and international enterprises. OMIC R&D is based on the understanding that investing in research and innovation alone is not sufficient to create a dynamic innovation-based economy; the research must be focused on helping indigenous industry increase competitiveness and be embedded in the local economy.

Cost-efficient R&D

The OMIC R&D membership model provides a pathway for industry to engage across their organizations on critical technology needs by sharing and leveraging research and development costs in a collaborative environment. The enterprise delivers an affordable means for manufacturers of all sizes to develop and access innovative new tools, techniques, and unique proprietary technologies, providing a strategic and competitive advantage that would not otherwise be available to them.

Research and Proposals

OMIC R&D industry and research members are invited to submit ideas for applied research projects in advanced metals manufacturing and materials science that are considered to be of value to industry. To submit an idea, members should complete the Conceptual Abstract Template and submit as described in the Call for Proposals.

Also called “3D Printing”, this process builds 3D objects by joining materials, added layer by layer, to make objects with digital model data from 3D modeling software. Materials used include plastic, metal powder or metal wire, wire strips, and concrete. The process speeds up prototyping and allows the creation of highly customized products. It’s used to fabricate products in aircraft, dental restorations, automobiles, medical implants and even jewelry.

Physics-based material modeling is a key area of research benefiting makers of airframes, jet engines, power generation equipment, medical devices, defense products and automotive components. Connecting alloy developers and industry manufacturers during development helps to create better structural properties, optimal microstructures, and efficient processes that result in increased performance, reduced costs, and shorter production cycles.

Complex industrial processes such as steel production, aircraft assembly, and truck manufacturing use multiple layered and networked computer-controlled systems to perform operational management, monitoring, and automation for entire production lines. This “factory 4.0”, also called the “smart factory”, is the automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and cognitive computing. The purpose is to optimize the operation of all the decision variables to control product quality and production efficiency while minimizing energy use, materials consumption, effluent, and carbon discharge.

Strength is an important quality for metals used in industrial manufacturing, especially transportation, construction, and tool making. Metal alloys are often stronger than pure metals for four desirable factors: yield strength measures the lowest stress resulting in permanent deformation; compressive strength measures the amount of squeezing stress that will cause defects; tensile strength measures the amount of pulling stress that will cause defects.; impact strength measures the amount of impact energy that will cause a fracture. Steel, titanium, tungsten, Inconel, and their alloys are among the hardest metals.

Lasers make it possible to weld thick gauge materials used in windmill towers, locomotives, and piping. Using metal inert gas or submerged arc welding to join up to 1” thick materials reduces energy consumption by 90% and lowers C02 emissions. Research in advanced joining provides an opportunity to introduce net shape manufacturing into the supply chain.

Integrated structures merge manufacturing capabilities with plant production management to improve flexibility and quality. Making large aircraft and other complex structures requires capabilities such as design, metallurgy, manufacturing engineering, fabrication, machining, assembly, tooling, kitting, and system integration. Combining them smoothly and efficiently reduces costs and improves quality.

Net-shape processing creates an object in its finished or nearly finished (near-net shape) form, with little or no need for further finish machining. In the finishing of a forged part, machining adds significant cost because of the value of the metal removed and scrapped. Near net machining creates capacity without adding equipment or bricks and mortar. The sooner in the production process a part can achieve net or near-net shape, savings are realized in reduced costs, energy, and greenhouse emissions. That can provide a significant competitive advantage for American manufacturers.

Components equipped with sensors are becoming ubiquitous in manufacturing, as purely mechanical products are being digitized to optimize machine processes, maximize capacity utilization, improve product quality, and extend machinery life. Higher speeds, longer operating lives, and greater precision are valuable competitive advantages for OMIC R&D’s industry members.

Traditional manufacturing removes material from a workpiece to create the desired shape and size. Subtractive methods include milling, turning and sawing. A block of metal is modified by cutting, drilling, and milling to remove material. Advanced computer numerical control (CNC) machines rotate the block around multiple axes to make the cuts, channels, holes and other features produced by material removal. Afterward, products usually require several steps of machining and assembly before they are finished.

Tribology is the study of interacting surfaces in relative motion. It has to do with friction, wear, lubrication, and the design of bearings and gears. This is important to the transportation industry in metal-forming operations such as rolling, extrusion, forging, drawing, and stamping. Friction increases tool wear and the power required to work a piece.

Welding refers to joining together metal pieces or parts by heating their surfaces to the point of melting using a blowtorch, electric arc, laser, electron beam, friction, or other means, and uniting them by pressing or hammering to combine and form a harmonious or effective whole part or product. A strong weld increases heat resistance and part or product safety.