ASM International, the world’s largest materials science association, recently announced that it will lead a national effort to develop and implement advanced manufacturing technologies for the thermal manufacturing industry through the newly-formed Thermal Manufacturing Industries Advanced Technology Consortium (TMI ATC). Over the next 18 months, the TMI ATC will develop a roadmap that identifies advanced manufacturing technologies that are ready for implementation in thermal manufacturing industries, as well as high-priority areas for development.
Led by ASM, TMI ATC partners include: The Association of Iron and Steel Technology, Forging Industry Association, Heat Treating Society (ASM affiliate), Industrial Heating Equipment Association, Metals Processing Institute, Metal Treating Institute, Nexight Group, LLC and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Nexight Group, LLC is a funded participant and is a small business that has extensive experience in technology roadmapping. ASM will engage the ASM Heat Treating Society extensively in the consortium’s development and sustainability.
The TMI ATC is the result a $400,000 advanced manufacturing technology planning grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Recently, 19 grants totaling $9 million were awarded to new or existing industry-driven consortia to develop technology roadmaps aimed at strengthening U.S. manufacturing and innovation performance across industries. Additional funding is being sought for roadmap implementation. Manufacturers rely on thermal manufacturing’s heat-driven processes like drying, smelting, heat treating, and curing to produce materials such as metals, glass, and ceramics, as well as downstream products such as electronics, consumer products and vehicles.
“While still in the very early stages, roadmap findings have the potential to significantly shape the future of thermal manufacturing,” said Stan Theobald, senior director of business development at ASM International. “ASM International is thrilled to be leading this exciting project that can play a role in reducing manufacturing costs, increasing productivity, enhancing global competiveness and, in turn, creating jobs.”
Due to its wide and varied industrial use, thermal manufacturing directly and indirectly affects the employment of an estimated 8.3 million people in the U.S. at more than 262,000 companies, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. These companies, of which 98% are small and medium enterprises, annually produce $3.4 trillion in total value of shipments.