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ENERGY SECRETARY WATKINS ANNOUNCES NEW CENTERS TO COMMERCIALIZE ADVANCED MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGIES

 ENERGY SECRETARY WATKINS ANNOUNCES NEW CENTERS
 TO COMMERCIALIZE ADVANCED MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGIES
 WASHINGTON, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Secretary of Energy James D. Watkins today announced that two new centers at Department of Energy (DOE) facilities will be dedicated to commercializing advanced manufacturing technologies.
 At a press conference at DOE's Kansas City Plant, Watkins announced that the plant's recently completed Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) facility will be available as a source of advanced manufacturing technology development for U.S. businesses.
 He also announced that DOE's Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) has created a new Center for Advanced Manufacturing Technology at its New Mexico and California labs. The center will concentrate Sandia's design and manufacturing problem-solving skills -- established during decades of nuclear weapons development -- into a single organization to serve the technology development needs of U.S. industry.
 Watkins said of the new Sandia and Kansas City centers, "These are additional examples of our ability to use the expertise developed in our weapons labs to improve the competitiveness of U.S. industry in global markets. These new centers for developing advanced manufacturing technologies are significant peace dividends. They are fruits of our victory in the Cold War."
 The Flexible Manufacturing System represents a $15 million investment at the Kansas City Plant, which manufactures non-nuclear components for nuclear weapons. The FMS is a computer-controlled production unit that can machine up to 32 different parts on a given day and inspect them against the most demanding quality standards as they are manufactured.
 The parts are shuttled between manufacturing stations on board automatic-guided vehicles at a speed of 98 feet per minute. The process reduces manufacturing times from days to hours. At the same time, environmental impact of the facility is reduced by use of a cutting operations coolant that lasts for 12 to 18 months between changes.
 The transition of the Kansas City Plant and SNL to dual weapons and technology commercialization missions is consistent with the National Technology Initiative (NTI), launched this year to increase cooperation between government and business to develop globally competitive technologies.
 With support from both DOE and the Department of Commerce, the Kansas City Plant is developing technology commercialization programs with industrial organizations in both Kansas and Missouri. It also is working with a University of Illinois center that has research and development relationships with major midwestern manufacturers.
 SNL is a major player in the DOE technology commercialization program and currently has 42 cooperative research and development agreements with business and non-profit partners. These agreements represent a total research investment of $104 million.
 SNL has a longstanding design relationship with the Kansas City Plant that has been enhanced by direct computer links between the two. Sandia is managed for DOE by AT&T, and the Kansas City Plant is operated for the department by Allied-Signal Aerospace Co.
 -0- 6/25/92 p
 /CONTACT: Jeff Sherwood of the U.S. Department of Energy, 202-586-5806/ CO: U.S. Department of Energy ST: District of Columbia IN: CPR SU: EXE


DC -- DC026 -- 4012 06/25/92 18:06 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 25, 1992
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