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Specialty metals processing consortium to attack research problems, increase U.S. competitiveness.

Specialty Metals Processing Consortium to Attack Research Problems, Increase U.S. Competitiveness

Scientists from 10 companies are teaming with Sandia National Laboratories in a Dept of Energy (DOE) effort to increase U.S. competitiveness in the world specialty metals market.

The newly formed group, the Specialty Metals Processing Consortium, Inc (SMPC), is the focus of an agreement for collaborative research signed recently in Washington, D.C. by DOE and SMPC representatives.

The SMPC brings together industry representatives, universities and the DOE. Sandia, a prime DOE contractor with laboratories in Albuquerque, NM, and Livermore, CA, was instrumental in forming the partnership.

Some 30-40 American companies develop and manufacture specialty metals (high-strength, high-performance steel, titanium alloys, nickel-based alloys and other high-tech metals) for use in aircraft, satellites, nuclear power reactors, high-speed drills and other products. Defense hardware that must work after being in stockpile for years also depends on these materials.

The formal signing of the agreement by DOE and SMPC culminates more than 18 months of trying to bring together members of this highly competitive industry.

The consortium's goals include developing a focused industrywide research and development effort, halting the erosion of the U.S. technology base, and meeting the challenge of expanding capabilities by European and Pacific Rim competitors.

"The companies are pooling research dollars to work on generic process problems that are directly applicable to the industrial sector," said Robert J. Torcolini, SMPC president. "This is a vital industry where the U.S. maintains a competitive advantage. Through collaboration of the government labs, industry and universities, it is likely that we can keep or possibly even increase this edge."

Each participating company in the consortium will contribute $50,000 annually for five years, according to the cooperative agreement. The DOE will provide financial support over an initial five-year period after which it is expected that the program will be self-supporting.

Funds will be used to conduct studies of mutual interest to participants. Projects will be selected by private-sector consortium members and supported by Sandia and university research.

Although member companies share the research results, they will be free to apply this information to developing their own processes and products.

Sandia's role will be to provide technical consultation with experienced materials researchers, to offer access to its metals processing equipment and to undertake associated research.

SMPC membership will be open to qualified companies until Oct 31, 1990. Companies or organizations interested in joining should contact Robert J. Torcolini, Carpenter Technology Corp, 215/371-2301.
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Title Annotation:Specialty Metals Processing Consortium Inc.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Sep 1, 1990
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