SBIR Phase II: IPPM:In-Line Piercing Process Monitoring For Seamless Tube Manufacturing

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1058237
Agency Tracking Number: 1058237
Amount: $500,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: Phase II
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
4300 VARSITY DR STE C, ANN ARBOR, MI, 48108-5010
DUNS: 072247088
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Tzyy-Shuh Chang
 (734) 973-7500
Business Contact
 Tzyy-Shuh Chang
Title: PhD
Phone: (734) 973-7500
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project proposes to develop an imaging based monitoring system for the piercing process used in the manufacturing of seamless steel tubes based on the feasibility proven in Phase I. Piercing is the core process of the near net-shape manufacturing process for seamless tubes, which are crucial materials in many critical applications ranging from energy to chemical, automotive, aerospace, and infrastructure. However, being the primary cause for tube wall variations and internal surface quality issues,piercing is rarely investigated due to the lack of proper sensing means. There is a need to improve the piercing process efficiency for higher product quality and lower costs with new sensors. The proposed innovation consists of a set of imaging sensors for measuring the vibrations of the part being pierced. The vibration signals are used for system conditions monitoring for the detection of critical failure modes. The new approach was validated on selected tubes. Further development is proposed to support the commercialization of a new piercing-monitoring system. This project will be carried out by a team of industry-academia collaboration in 24 months. A site-tested prototype will be delivered. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is substantial. This project represents a unique approach of multi-model sensor fusion to controlling a highly stochastic and non-linear process. If commercialized, it may improve seamless steel tubing manufacture through reduced mill downtime, fewer setup pieces, and tightened tolerances, thereby reducing the pollution emissions and costly energy consumption associated with remanufacturing or reworking out-oftolerance products. Industry-wide adoption in the tube industry could yield drastic reductions in waste byproducts and cost savings of $250 million per year. Scientifically, the proposed research could have an impact on the adoption of emerging high dimensional data analysis techniques. The proposed project carries strong educational implication due to the close working relationship with the academia. Social impact is also expected with this project in improved energy preservation and environmental protection. The estimated benefits include energy savings of 3 terawatt-hours and reduction of 300,000 tons of carbon-equivalent emission and 260,000 tons of toxic waste per year. The estimated market size for the proposed iPPM system is $15 million in the US and $200 million globally. Beyond the piercing process, the success of the project will also provide generic modeling and analysis tools for systems with complex information.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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