PART 3: Morris outlines opportunities for manufacturers
(EDITOR’S NOTE: John Morris, a long-time player in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge entrepreneurial ecosystem, has been assisting Consolidated Nuclear Services, managing contractor for the Y-12 National Security Complex, make prospective licensees around the Southeast aware of the organization’s available technologies. This is the third article in a five-part series examining those technologies. The remaining articles post in the next two weeks.)
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Technologies five through eight in the group John Morris has been pitching across the Southeast offer different opportunities for manufacturers.
“Metals are strong but heavy; ceramics are light but brittle,” Morris explains, adding, “Certain applications require a light material without being brittle.” Areas where these needs exist are in armor and ballistics, projectile nosecones, engine blocks, and propulsors.
That’s where Y-12’s microwave sintering technology can play. It uses a microwave to bond ceramic to metal, a process that usually requires expensive equipment and experience. With the Y-12 technology, a user only needs a few pieces of equipment to be able to perform complex bends to create unique shapes. In addition, parts can be manufactured with different physical, chemical, and material properties.
“I haven’t found anyone doing the fusion of ceramics and materials,” Morris says. “This is a unique opportunity. Metals for the engine market could be of interest.”
He clearly sees this being a business-to-business (B2B) opportunity, perhaps starting with revenue being derived on a project-by-project basis but evolving into specific products over time.
Modulated Tooth-Path (MTP) Chip-Breaking System
The name is long while the outcome is simple – reducing waste produced in the machining process.
“Machining in continuous mode produces a ‘birds-nest’ of residual material,” Morris explains. “The waste is bulky and expensive to dispose of.”
There’s also the matter of frequent machine down-time as well as concerns about safety and other on-floor issues.
The MTP technology is software attached to a machine tool that reduces several things – the waste produced, disposal costs and down-time – while extending the life of the equipment and providing a safer work environment.
Morris sees this as a “make and sell” business model targeting machine tool suppliers.
Blast Resistant Vehicle Seat
Another manufacturing opportunity is the blast resistant seat that Y-12 developed for military applications to address the impact of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Yet, the same core technology could be used to improve the seats in non-military vehicles like those used by state or local law enforcement agencies. In addition, race car and other high-end vehicle seating are possible due to the technology’s ability to form to the driver’s body shape.
“It uses a fluidized bed technology like those found in a coal-fired plant,” Morris said. The result is an ability to cushion any blast, have a more comfortable seat that better conforms to the individual’s body, and even have the ability to provide heating or cooling.
Morris says the market is large – 236,000 seats in just two sectors. They are existing or expected Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles the military is ordering and retrofitting vehicles used by 50,000 SWAT teams in law enforcement.
A possible business model would have the licensee produce the seat and seat-back systems for a seat manufacturer that, in turn, would incorporate into its product offering.
Individuals interested in learning more about these technologies should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.