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Oregon Metals Initiative established to boost important state industry.

A growing Oregon industry employs 40,000 workers at generally high-wage jobs, but most Oregonians cannot name it. it's the metals industry.

Although Oregon comprises the nation's premier railcar builder, the center for U.S. aluminum smelting, a foremost precision metalcasting company and hundreds of small metalworking firms, most Oregonians do not think of this industry as a major contributor to the state's economy..

However, the Oregon Metals Initiative (OMI), a new $4 million venture of the federal and state governments, research institutions and Oregon metals companies, will help highlight this industry. This comes at a time when Oregon is recognizing the need to broaden its manufacturing job opportunities.

The initiative was announced recently by Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-OR); U.S. Rep. Les AuCoin (D-OR); T S Ary, director of the U.S. Bureau of Mines, Washington, D.C.; Oregon Economic Department; Oregon Graduate institute of Science and Technology; Oregon State Univ; and the Albany office of the U.S. Bureau of Mines.

The first $4 million in funding will be used to build the metals industry in three ways: * find solutions to technical problems in metals processing; * increase the pool of research talent in Oregon which has expertise critical to the metals industry; * improve the long-term competitive position of the industry.

Hatfield and AuCoin helped secure $2 million from the U.S. Bureau of Mines to support the project. Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt committed $1 million from the lottery-funded Strategic Reserve Fund and the metals industry committed $1 million.

David Lohman, senior deputy director of the Oregon Economic Development Department, explained the collaborative nature of the OMI program.

"Oregon State Univ, the Oregon Graduate Institute and the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Albany, OR, as well as Oregon's metals companies submit research proposals to the OMI board and executive committees," he said. "Taken together, the 14 research programs we are announcing should give Oregon's metals industry a competitive advantage."

First-round research projects include: "Characterization and Control of inclusions in Cast Parts;" "Nature of Fatigue Crack Growth in Cast Superalloy Aircraft Engine Parts;" "Development of Improved Direct Chill Cast Aluminum Alloys;" "Study of Zirconium Alloys;" "Titanium Alloys;" "Aluminum Alloy Properties;" and "Alloy Fractures."
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Title Annotation:Industry News
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Nov 1, 1990
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