Commonwealth Research and Technology Strategic Roadmap Profile: CCAM

The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) is a collaborative, applied research center that brings together advanced manufacturing companies and five of Virginia's top universities to focus on developing factory-ready technology solutions in surface engineering, manufacturing systems, additive manufacturing, and machining technologies. Industry sectors targeted for research performed at CCAM include aerospace, marine and shipbuilding, energy, defense, transportation, machinery and heavy equipment, biomedical, and business and consumer products. A state-of-the-art, 62,000 square foot facility in Prince George County, just south of Richmond, houses industrial-scale equipment. In focusing on the testing and implementation of new technologies to enhance existing manufacturing processes, CCAM provides significant value to members wishing to further their own technology agenda and more quickly commercialize technology to their advantage; in parallel, CCAM helps expand advanced manufacturing in Virginia.

CCAM's research agenda is determined by its members and may be directed or generic. Directed research projects are dictated by a sponsoring company funding specific research initiatives, while generic research investments are aggregated to fund a generic research agenda jointly agreed upon by each CCAM member company. CCAM's broad research agenda targets: surface characterization; inspection, testing, and validation techniques; surface prep; coating application methods; material development; manufacturing process control; digital manufacturing; material handling; human factors / knowledge capture; modeling and simulation; data collection and management; and design for manufacturing. This structure spurs innovation and makes CCAM a one-of-a-kind organization, leveraging the knowledge and capital investments required to develop and implement technology across many technical disciplines.

A key component to CCAM's structure and mission is its ability to conduct first-class research in its on-site facility. For example, CCAM has a $1.5 million plasma spray cell used in the application of hard powdered coatings, a key technology for coating parts that require thermal barrier coatings in aerospace technologies. The facility also includes a laser powder deposition unit for additive manufacturing -- twin robots designed to use powdered metal material to create or repair parts in an additive fashion. Presently, CCAM's in-house capabilities include five multi-axis machines to cut parts from metal and composites; a metrology center; a materials preparation lab; a materials characterization lab; and significant modeling and simulation materials, such as a 3D power-wall that allows researchers to immerse themselves in the 3D world and look at complex structures such as aircraft engines.

As of October 2015, CCAM's industry and government consortium numbers 28 members: Aerojet Rocketdyne, Airbus, Alcoa, Canon Virginia Inc., Chromalloy, Newport News Shipbuilding, Oerlikon Metco, Rolls-Royce, Sandvik Coromant, Siemens, Blaser Swisslube, EOS, GF Machining Solutions, Hermle Machine Co., Mitutoya, Paradigm Precision, RTI International Metals, Inc., Buehler, Cool Clean Technologies, Mechdyne, National Instruments, Spatial Integrated Systems (SIS), and the NASA Langley Research Center. Academic partners are Old Dominion University, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, and Virginia Tech.

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