HTS International Corporation and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have signed an agreement to explore potential collaborations in advanced manufacturing research.
The memorandum of understanding follows HTS's recent decision to locate its headquarters and production operations in a Knox County business park adjacent to DOE's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL. The lab's expertise and unique facilities in materials science, metallurgy and advanced manufacturing attracted the attention of HTS's leadership during a 2015 visit to Tennessee.
"Our researchers push the boundaries of what's possible with materials and advanced manufacturing techniques, and we value partners such as HTS," said Thomas Zacharia, deputy for science and technology at ORNL. "Industrial partners help to ensure we're tackling the right problems, and our results help them to improve production capabilities and American competitiveness."
HTS supplies specialty products to the injection molding and die casting industries, using its proprietary Metal Fusion Technology to produce large-scale steel production components with conformal cooling. These specially placed coolant lines allow parts to cool faster, which increases productivity for molding and casting manufacturers.
"Engineered thermal solutions like conformal cooling are important to many of our industrial collaborators," said Craig Blue, ORNL's director of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. "HTS and ORNL share mutual interest in several R&D areas, such as development of additive technologies in the steel tooling sector and implementation of corresponding industrial standards."
HTS is preparing to launch the first industrial standard in conformal cooling with a series of products under its iTherm brand. "Establishing a collaboration with ORNL to test and validate our iTherm tool plates and inserts is the first step towards standardization of conformal cooling for the injection molding industry," HTS CEO William Sames said. The in-situ testing of iTherm tool inserts is expected to be performed at the University of Tennessee Fibers and Composite Manufacturing Facility and Engineering Annex early this year.