Recovery Act - Imaging-Based Optical Caliper for Objects in Hot Manufacturing Processes

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: 02-10ER85687
Agency Tracking Number: 92034
Amount: $933,645.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: 05 b
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
4300 Varsity Drive, Suite C, Ann Arbor, MI, 48108
DUNS: 072247088
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Howard Huang
 (734) 973-7500
Business Contact
 Terence Liddy
Title: Mr.
Phone: (734) 973-7500
Research Institution
Dimension control is very important in manufacturing. Poor dimension control leads to surface defects, incorrect cross-section weight distribution and final product straightness. The existing practices in the hot manufacturing processes are prone to inaccuracy and potentially compromising worker safety. The synergistic interactions of technologies and innovations in imaging, sophisticated software and wireless communication could deliver a tool that is viable and have high impact in the metal industry. It will provide a portable, non-contact solution to be used on key dimensional measurements in hot processes such as rolling, casting and forging, and result in a more efficient and safer operation paradigm.The Phase I objective was successfully accomplished, proving the technological feasibility of the innovation. The R&D team demonstrated the ability to fabricate a self contained test unit that was capable of providing accurate measurements in the real production applications, and transmitting the data through wireless network for process control and optimization. In Phase II the research will focus on work required for the commercial viability of the innovation. There will be development for the ease of use and additional functions. The measurement data along with the process data will be used to study the optimal process control scheme and develop proper process control tools. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The Optical Caliper will have a high impact. For the US steel industry, the expected annual benefits include $456 million in economic benefits, 4.8 trillion BTU in energy conservation and the reduction of 0.4 million tons in CO2 emissions through better dimension control. OGT expects to have a 50% market penetration by 2017 in the US with a marketing strategy, securing existing jobs and creating new positions. It includes the pathway to build up the workforce in marketing, production and service, and the potential sources for required financing, space and equipment. Without DOE funding, the delivery of the proposed Optical Caliper will be either delayed for a substantial time period or dropped and the benefits will be deferred or lost entirely.

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

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