Technology nonprofit builds center for composites education and manufacturing

The Long Island Forum for Technology is building a 25,000-sq-ft facility that will emphasize automated fiber placement, a filament winding system, autocalves, VARTM, a cleanroom, single-ply cutter, machine shop and CAD/CAM software tutorials.

 

The nonprofit economic development organization Long Island Forum for Technology (LIFT, Bethpage, N.Y.) reports that it is moving forward to provide manufacturers with what it calls a “total resource for entry into the growing advanced composites market” with the opening of its Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technology Innovation Center (AMMTIC). The AMMTIC will be part of the long-established group’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and other programs that benefit manufacturing and small businesses in the area. The center is projected to be operational by the third quarter of 2013.

AMMTIC project director Philip M. Coniglio says the building will house a comprehensive suite of equipment, ranging from conventional to state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing systems. The equipment will include automated fiber placement machines, a filament winding system, large and small autoclaves, a vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) system and a heated compression molding press. To support these manufacturing systems, the facility also will include a cleanroom with an automated singly-ply cutter, walk-in ovens, a machine shop for postmachining and tool design, environmentally controlled test and inspection cells, a storage area with walk-in freezers and a dedicated training room equipped with computers and CAD/CAM composite software suites.

Another primary offering of the AMMTIC will be its training programs, which will cover composite material handling, component design and part manufacturing. Students will learn how to use leading-edge composite software suites for design and analysis. Among the available programs will be CATIA v5, including a composite module, from Dassault Systèmes (Paris France); PRO-Engineer Wildfire 4 from PTC (Needham, Mass.); Nastran/ANSYS from Ansys Inc. (Canonsburg, Pa.); the FiberSIM Composite Software Suite from VISTAGY Inc. (Waltham, Mass.), now part of Siemens PLM Softwre (Plano, Texas); and Excel-Based Classical Analysis. Coniglio says a composites design course is already planned for this fall. Going forward, AMMTIC is coordinating with Farmingdale State College and Stony Brook State University of New York to expand its educational offerings to include a multilevel curriculum consisting of certificate and degree programs in advanced composite technologies. The course work will address the workforce development needs of manufacturers from the secondary and undergraduate education levels through postgraduate, continuing education and training programs.

LIFT president Frank Otto says the organization has purchased a 25,000-ft2/2,322m2 building in Plainview, N.Y. Funding for the purchase was made possible through the efforts of New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Strategically located near Long Island’s major thoroughfares and Nassau and Suffolk manufacturers, AMMTIC will enable manufacturers to access leading-edge technologies, educational and training programs and contract opportunities presented by prime contractors’ involvement with materials such as carbon fiber, fiberglass and aramid.

According to Otto, “AMMTIC has been in development for the past year in terms of determining its mission, services, expert staff and the production line technologies it should house. It is a direct response to the needs of manufacturers and reflects industry and economic initiatives at the local, state and federal levels, including the National Science and Technology Council’s National Strategic Plan for Advanced Manufacturing. To start, we needed to identify the right building in the right location. We did that and now have completed the building acquisition so that we can begin retrofitting, and equipping the facility.”