The Hot Sheet
This high-speed camera image of metal coated with an organic monolayer (SAM) being cut shows the strain field caused during the cutting.
Photo: Purdue University/
Anirudh Udupa
high-speed camera image of metal coated with an organic monolayer (SAM) being cut shows the strain field caused during the cutting
This high-speed camera image of metal coated with an organic monolayer (SAM) being cut shows the strain field caused during the cutting.
Photo: Purdue University/Anirudh Udupa
Code Crackers
Organic monolayers improve metal cutting
How can you improve the cutting of “gummy” metals? Purdue University uncovered the answer, and their findings may help manufacturers reduce component failures.

Researchers previously demonstrated that the application of a permanent marker or Sharpie, glue or adhesive film made it easier to cut metals such as aluminum, stainless steels, nickel, copper and tantalum for industrial applications. Marking the metal surface to be machined with ink or an adhesive dramatically reduced the force of cutting, leaving a clean cut in seconds. Researchers now know how these films achieve this effect.

“We have found that you only need the organic film from the markers or glue to be one molecule thick for it to work,” says Srinivasan Chandrasekar, Purdue professor of industrial engineering. “This ultra-thin film helps attain smoother, cleaner, faster cuts than current machining processes. It also reduces cutting forces and energy.”

The capability to make a significant improvement to the machinability of gummy metals or alloys—how well they cut, drill or grind—promises to lower the cost of products, raise performance, and support new and improved product designs. The technology is especially suited to manufacturers in a range of industries such biomedical, energy, defense and aerospace.

The molecule chain length and its adsorption to the metal surface are key to realizing these improvements. By using the “right” organic molecules, the metal is locally embrittled resulting in improved machining.

“We are also learning more about how environmental factors influence failure of metals,” says Anirudh Udupa, a lead author on the study and a researcher in Purdue’s School of Industrial Engineering. “As we decipher how the organic molecular films improve the machinability of these metals, the better also is our understanding of common environment-assisted failures in metals, such as stress-corrosion cracking, hydrogen embrittlement and liquid metal embrittlement.”

Researchers at Purdue, Osaka University (Japan) and the Indian Institute of Science (India) collaborated on the study which was supported by the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy.

Purdue innovators worked with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent the technology. Researchers are looking for partners to continue developing their technology.

Bystronic and CLOOS establish partnership
Bystronic Inc. introduced the U.S. market to the first Bystronic Robotic Welding Cell powered by CLOOS at the Competence Days for the Americas event in November 2020. CLOOS, headquartered in Haiger, Germany, has offices in Schaumburg, Illinois. It will supply the Bystronic Robotic Welding cells and provide installation, training and service. Bystronic will handle sales and distribution for the machines. CLOOS manufactures the robot weld positioner, controller, welding power source and cell integration. CLOOS also maintains its own powerful and user-friendly offline programming software, RoboPlan QRP Professional for fast and easy programming.
Desktop Metal goes public
shaped metal
Desktop Metal Inc. in Burlington, Massachusetts, and Trine Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, announced the completion of their business merger. Retaining the name Desktop Metal Inc., the new company’s common stock and warrants commenced trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “DM” and “DM.WT” on December 10, 2020. The transaction was unanimously approved by Trine’s board of directors and approved at a special meeting of Trine’s stockholders on December 8, 2020. As a result of this transaction, Desktop Metal has received approximately $580 million of gross proceeds from Trine’s trust account and concurrent equity private placements.
man grinding down metal
2020 manufacturing survey finds cautious optimism
The National Association of Manufacturers released its final Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey of the year, which climbed from its low in the second quarter brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the fourth quarter, 74.2 percent of manufacturers responding to the survey felt positive about their own company’s outlook, up from 66 percent last quarter. While encouraging, a wide gap remains between the survey’s numbers and the 90 percent average in 2019. After two quarters with weaker domestic demand topping the list of primary business challenges, the inability to attract and retain talent leads the pack once again in the fourth quarter with 62.4 percent of respondents listing it as their primary current business challenge. Prior to COVID-19, workforce challenges had been the main concern for 10 consecutive quarters. According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 525,000 job openings in manufacturing in October, a record high.
Jenoptik expands production capacity
Jenoptik HQ
Jenoptik announced the addition of a new class 5 cleanroom, new equipment and expanded its production area to enhance its manufacturing and testing capabilities at its 70,875-sq.-ft. Jupiter, Florida, facility. The class 5 cleanroom compliments several other existing cleanrooms and is equipped with advanced molecular filtration technology to support applications with demanding cleanliness requirements like EUV and vacuum applications.
VELO3D partners with GoEngineer
VELO3D tanks
VELO3D, Campbell, California, announced the formation of a U.S.-wide distribution partnership with GoEngineer, Salt Lake City. GoEngineer will operate as an extension of VELO3D, dedicating resources to educate designers about the game changing potential of SupportFree technology for their designs. The company will also provide sales and service expertise supporting the complete solutions portfolio including Flow pre-print software, Sapphire metal AM printer, and Assure quality assurance and control system.
Service & Support
Automatic Feed service team celebrates 25 years
Automatic Feed service team
Automatic Feed Company, Napoleon, Ohio, has recognized its service department for providing 25 years of installations, repairs, maintenance, upgrades and training for its coil processing equipment. To date, AFCO has performed nearly 15,000 repair and support services and repairs totaling nearly 104,000 labor hours. The Automatic Feed service team collectively has over 200 years of experience with additional support provided by its electronic and mechanical engineers.
Employee at the Rio Tinto warehouse
Rio Tinto expands aluminum recycling capacity
Rio Tinto is investing $8.4 million to expand the recycling capacity of its aluminum operations in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec, to offer North American rolled product customers a new, sustainable solution that combines low-carbon and recycled aluminum. A new remelt furnace will be added at the Laterrière Plant’s casting center to recycle aluminum cuttings from Rio Tinto’s operations and rolling mill customers in manufacturing sectors, producing rolling ingots for the automotive and packaging industries. With an initial capacity of 22,000 metric tons of remelted aluminum per year, the new aluminum recycling system is expected to be operational at the end of 2021.
American Specialty Metals adds to sales team
Wayne E. Takach headshot
Wayne E. Takach has joined American Specialty Metals, Willoughby, Ohio, as outside sales. His knowledge, expertise and relationships will help to strengthen and grow American Specialty Metals’ commitment to serving the tool steel industry.
Pivatic nominates CEO
Jan Tapanainen headshot
Jan Tapanainen has been nominated as CEO of Pivatic Oy, Hyvinkää, Finland. He will report directly to the board of the Ursviken Group, Ursviken, Sweden. Tapanainen has over 17 years of international experience in the sheet metal machine tools industry.
Verisurf partners with OpenX to close skills gap
Verisurf Metrology Software
Verisurf Software, Anaheim, California, partnered with OpenX, an interactive learning platform, to provide comprehensive education courses to those looking to pursue a career in dimensional metrology or expand their skills in specific application areas. Current courses include Reverse Engineering which includes Fast 3D Scanning to 3D Printing Workflows and powerful 3D Surface Modeling. Future courses to include Portable Inspection, and Programmable CMM Inspection.
Profile Precision Extrusions expands to new facility
Profile Precision Extrusions HQ
Profile Precision Extrusions announced it has completed its move into a new 100,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility. The new building is located in Phoenix, Arizona, and is more than twice the size of PPE’s former facility. The company intends to make additional hires in the coming year, based on demand and further growth. PPE will also be expanding the types of aluminum extrusions and value-added services it offers.
Cincinnati Inc. welcomes new president and CEO
Timothy Warning headshot
Cincinnati Incorporated, announced the appointment of Timothy Warning as president and chief executive officer. He has also been elected to the board of directors at CI. Warning has a strong track record and has consistently demonstrated the ability to build highly skilled and innovative teams to bring growth and profitability to the companies he has served.
stacks of metal
Program to help better track aluminum trade flows
The Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration launched a new program to track aluminum trade flows. The Aluminum Import Monitoring and Analysis system will serve as an early warning mechanism to help spot trends and shifts in trade flows that might warrant industry or government action. In January 2020, the new AIM system website became operational and is accepting online license applications at AIM licenses will now be required for importers of covered aluminum products. The system will cover aluminum products under HTS codes 7601, 7604, 7605, 7606, 7607, 7608, 7609, 7616.99.51.60, and 7616.99.51.70, matching the original scope of the Section 232 aluminum tariff program. Information gathered from these licenses will be aggregated and posted on the import monitoring section of the AIM system website.
LVD announces new N.A. trade name
LVD, Belgium, announces LVD North America, the new trade name for the Sales and Service division of Strippit Inc. for the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Effective immediately, the LVD North America trade name replaces the LVD Strippit brand and reflects alignment with the broader LVD Group organization. Strippit Inc.’s Akron, New York-based engineering and manufacturing facility will become an independent production facility for the LVD Group, serving all markets worldwide. As such, the 250,000 sq.-ft. facility will be used to manufacture a broader range of LVD products to support global sales.
LVD logo
ReFab Metal Fabrication announces new president
Andrew DeWys headshot
ReFab Metal Fabrications division of DeWys Manufacturing, has appointed Andrew DeWys as president. His new role will include providing strong leadership for the company by working with the board and other executives to establish short- and long-term goals. He will also manage budgets and help grow sales capacity.
Walter makes acquisitions
Walter HQ
Walter Surface Technologies announced the acquisition of two companies, Drillco, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a brand offering cutting tools, and Triumph Twist Drill, a Chisholm, Minnesota-based manufacturer of tooling and drilling solutions. Through these acquisitions, Walter is expanding its cutting tool product offering to metalworkers complementing its high-end metalworking products. Following this transaction, both Drillco and Triumph will continue to operate under their own respective brands. The transaction is effective immediately. Activities for both customers and suppliers remain unchanged.
Mazak announces promotion
Luke Surratt headshot
Mazak Optonics Corp., announced the promotion of Luke Surratt from installations manager to general manager of customer service. Surratt will be responsible for managing all aspects of customer support, service and installations. He will also develop the organization’s customer service strategies.
JR Machine adds VP of sales
Michael Ross headshot
JR Machine, a contract manufacturer of complex machined parts, announced Michael Ross has joined the company as regional vice president of sales. Ross has extensive knowledge in engineering and manufacturing developed over 25 years of working in aerospace, defense, heavy equipment, space, oil and gas, and power. He most recently served as business development and sales manager at Waygate Technologies, Pasadena, Texas.
Universal Robots reaches milestone
Universal Robots
The Odense, Denmark, market leader of collaborative robots celebrated a landmark event with the delivery of its 50,000th unit to German company VEMA GmbH. The 50,000th collaborative robot came by special delivery. Jürgen von Hollen, president of Universal Robots, personally oversaw the unit’s hand off to VEMA technische Kunststoffteile GmbH and VEMA Werkzeug-und Formenbau GmbH located in Krauchenwies-Göggingen, Germany, during a ceremony held at VEMA. VEMA’s new cobot will join a fleet of three other UR cobots already deployed in pick-and-place tasks in end-of-line applications.
ITI names field representatives
Chris Caricato & Carl Simons headshots
The International Training Institute has named Chris Caricato as its new architectural specialist and Carl Simons as its new building information modeling (BIM) specialist. They will also serve as field representatives for the organization. Caricato will cover Alaska, Arizona, British Columbia, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington on behalf of ITI. Simons is tasked with researching, reviewing and learning new technology as it becomes available.
Tri-D Dynamics partners with Marubeni-Itochu Steel
Smart pipe innovator Tri-D Dynamics Inc., San Mateo, California, and Japan-based global steel distributor Marubeni-Itochu Steel Inc. have signed an agreement to develop smart pipelines that bring the benefits of digitally connected infrastructure to the energy industry. Under the agreement, Tri-D will provide design and advanced manufacturing IP to integrate sensors and electronic components into MISI pipelines used in oil and gas production. Embedded sensors and electronics will enable digital tracking of the pipes, called Oil Country Tubular Goods, or OCTG, over their life cycle—from fabrication at the mill to transportation, storage and incorporation into the wellbore. The partnership will give Exploration and Production (E&P) customers with increased accuracy, reliability, transparency and efficiency.
Survey: How businesses incorporated more automation in 2020
Grid Raster Inc. announced results of its latest survey addressing how businesses and manufacturers incorporated more automation into their operations during 2020. According toGrid Raster, more than 250 business leaders across a variety of industries participated with more than half of those polled reporting they have incorporated automation technologies for 5 to 15 percent of their manufacturing operations. Fifty-two percent revealed there are a handful of issues preventing them from expanding their automation strategies, such as the need for greater innovation to build custom solutions that meet their unique challenges. Only 21 percent pointed to budget constraints as the prevention of expansion. Half of those polled said they are using workflow automation/BPM solutions currently; 47 percent said they are using marketing automation; and another 46 percent said they are incorporating AR/VR into their manufacturing operations. Of those businesses that have incorporated automation in 2020, nearly a quarter said they are seeing a 15 to 20 percent increase in production efficiency. And slightly more than a quarter said they are seeing a 10 to 15 percent increase in operational cost savings.
ALTEK becomes first and only provider of end-to-end aluminum solution
Harsco Corp. announced its subsidiary ALTEK is now able to provide end-to-end dross processing and environmental solutions to allow the global aluminum industry to maximize aluminum recoveries with zero waste. ALTEK offers a proven and scalable total dross management service. ALTEK’s innovative products lead the industry in recovering more than 45 percent aluminum, depending on existing recovery techniques than has traditionally been possible. The cost-efficient recovery of metal and other valuable materials—and environmentally safe solutions for residual waste materials—is increasingly important to the aluminum industry.
United Grinding expands outreach
United Grinding North America launched a new web-based video series, initiated a scholarship program for local students and prepared an online presentation on the need for digitization in today’s manufacturing world to expand its outreach to manufacturers in 2021. The new video series, titled “In the Shop With United Grinding,” premiered in January 2021. The scholarship is for students pursuing degrees, diplomas or certificates in manufacturing and engineering-related technical fields.
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