Patents issued, applications filed, and disclosures
The Center has been awarded patents for numerous inventions and intellectual property generated from our research. To date, the ERC/RMS holds 14 US patents. In accordance with the ERC/RMS Bylaws, Regular members have a “non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, fully paid up, irrevocable, perpetual, license to make, use, sell, and offer for sale, and import items under the patent.”
Licensing of ERC Software
Efforts have been made to improve the formalization and distribution of ERC/RMS developed software. We have worked to catalog all ERC/RMS software and ensure they have been properly disclosed.
Participation in the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS)
The ERC/RMS Arch-Type Reconfigurable Machine Tool was displayed and demonstrated as part of the 2002 IMTS show in Chicago. The generosity of Masco Machine (who donated the booth space), AMT and GES (who assisted in the planning, design, and discounting of booth materials) made it possible for the ERC/RMS to have a booth dedicated to the activities of the Center. This showing resulted in a number of articles about the RMT in trade publications and generated a number of industry contracts with whom we are maintaining contact with.
In 2004, the ERC/RMS displayed the Reconfigurable Inspection Machine (RIM) at IMTS. The RIM is a laser probe and machine vision, non-contact inspection system that is capable of measuring dimmensions, flatness, parallelism, and surface porosity of machined parts. The RIM displayed at the show was designed for the part family of cylinder heads.
ERC Technology Implementation
The development of case studies continues to be an effective mechanism to validate the technology, tools, and methods at a member facility, provide educational opportunities to the students involved in the project, as well as disseminate the results to our members. Examples of how we are taking technology to the factory floor include:
- Ford Windsor Engine Plant to apply the concepts and methods related to the Stream-of-Variations (SoV). The SoV method is being used to model the first four operations of the line to confirm the effectiveness of the method for the identification of root causes of dimensional innaccuracies. In addition, the project is looking at minimizing the data required in order to optimize the use of the coordinate measuring machines that are currently part of the process.
- General Motor’s Flint Engine Plant has taken the Center’s in-line porosity inspection methods to their factory floor: this surface porosity can detect pores as small 300 M points and works to releave the human eye, the current way porosity inspection is done. Each engine block is measured within 20 seconds, leaving faulty engines in the plant, not in cars.
- Chrysler LLC. is testing a beta version of the Center’s Cylinder Bore Inspection System.