Machine Learning Approach Offers Potential to Transform FGMs

With advancements in additive manufacturing, interest has grown in functionally graded materials (FGMs) as the gradual variations in their composition can provide locally tailored properties. However, they are plagued by a familiar challenge in the world of multi-material solutions – effective joining.

The broad range of composition in FGMs can lead to several problems, most notably a mismatch between coefficients of thermal expansion and detrimental or brittle phases that compromise strength, cause cracks upon heating and prohibit welding. To combat these problems, software platforms such as CALPHAD offer tools to generate isothermal phase diagrams that help plan gradient paths to avoid detrimental phases. But these tools require users to visualize and navigate high-dimensional spaces.

Olga Eliseeva, Materials Project Engineer at EWI, has developed a machine-learning methodology to move from one metal to another without problematic phases. With this technique, undesirable regions – or “obstacles” – are mapped out, while an algorithm identifies a path in the composition space that can avoid those obstacles.

Eliseeva created and tested the path-planning approach for deleterious phase avoidance in additively manufactured FGMs for her doctoral thesis. She designed a functional gradient, planning a path from 316L stainless steel to pure chromium, then 3D-printed bulk samples with a multi-material direct laser deposition system. The samples were heat treated for eight hours at 900ºC and characterized in both as-deposited and heat-treated states to ascertain local compositions, microstructure and phase constituents. The functional gradient completely eliminated the detrimental phase after heat treatment.

In a second experiment, Eliseeva planned a path from an iron/chromium alloy to tungsten, which presented challenges as there is a nearly 2000ºC difference in the melting temperatures between the materials. There was no oxidation, visible cracking, or detrimental phase midway through the 3D-printing process. While there was slight cracking near 100% chromium midpoint of the full gradient print, 100% tungsten was reached with no cracking.

While this path-planning technique has not yet moved from development to application, Eliseeva sees potential for the methodology not only in additive manufacturing, but also in resistance sintering and multi-layer welding applications for automotive, aerospace, nuclear and other markets.

Olga Eliseeva

“This technique can be applied across industries,” says Eliseeva. “We are looking at how materials, combined with machine learning, can help us move theory into reality and create mechanically strong pieces from steel and aluminum or other materials that a few years ago were unthinkable.”

Questions about path planning to avoid detrimental phases in functional gradients? Contact Olga Eliseeva at [email protected] or614.688.5268.

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Shipbuilding Project Showcases Buried Arc GMAW Technology

Shipyards typically use submerged arc welding (SAW), flux cored arc welding (FCAW) or gas metal arc welding (GMAW) to fabricate butt joints in thick steel plate. But there are drawbacks to these traditional welding methods, such as the necessity for weld joint preparation. In addition, multiple welds are often required to fill the joint. Now, there’s another option that can weld thicker plates in a single pass without any joint preparation – buried arc GMAW.

As the name suggests, buried arc GMAW is a variation on gas metal arc welding. The technique relies on a high-current, low-voltage electrical arc to penetrate deep beneath the surface of the base material.

Many heavy industrial applications are well-suited for buried arc GMAW, from construction equipment to offshore wind towers. EWI is participating in a two-part project funded by the National Shipbuilding Research Program – Advanced Shipbuilding Enterprise to demonstrate, implement, and validate the use of buried arc GMAW for shipboard production. The technology needs to be portable and to yield high-quality welds aboard a ship to supplant work usually done in a machine shop.

Test plates fixtured for buried arc GMA welding

In the first project, the team used buried arc GMAW technology and equipment developed by OTC DAIHEN for two primary applications – butt joints in ½-inch thick DH36 steel plate and in 3/8-inch thick EH36 steel plate. Mechanical testing of two tensile specimens, two face bend specimens and two root bend specimens confirmed that buried arc GMAW met the U.S. Navy’s requirements.

During the second project, the buried arc GMAW system will undergo implementation trials in Seattle with a shipyard’s staff and weld tractor system. The goal is to demonstrate to a team of managers, foremen, and welders how the technology works and its usefulness to their operation.

The goal of these two projects is to demonstrate the benefits of buried arc GMAW compared to conventional multi-pass welding: The consistent ability to weld thick metal plate in one pass will lead to increased efficiency and reduced weld time and cost.

Questions about buried arc gas metal arc welding? Contact Jim Hansen, Project Engineer for arc welding and directed-energy deposition processes, at [email protected] or 614.688.5153.

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Paving the Way for a Hydrogen Future

By Henry Cialone
President & CEO, EWI

Building new pipelines to transport hydrogen gas within the U.S. is an endeavor of high interest among companies interested in moving away from carbon-based energy sources. EWI recently partnered with a dozen industry stakeholders to kick off an 18-month program to study and test the optimal approaches for transporting hydrogen in steel pipelines.

The Hydrogen Joint Industry Project (JIP) was initiated by EWIO after our own clients reached out and encouraged us to become active in hydrogen-based R&D. Steel companies and pipeline manufacturers are working to prepare for a hydrogen-based, green energy economy. This includes transporting not only a blended hydrogen-natural gas mixture but also pure hydrogen….

To read the full article, click here.

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Empire State Development Announces Launch of Initiative to Further Support Innovation and Growth for Manufacturers in Western New York

Shift 2.0 Program Will Assist Manufacturing Companies with Technological Improvements and Innovation to Increase Productivity and Employment

January 11, 2023 — Empire State Development (ESD) today announced Buffalo Manufacturing Works, operated by EWI, will build on the success of the Shift program, with Shift 2.0, which is designed to move small to medium-sized manufacturers from technology exploration and education to actual technology implementation. The expansion will enable EWI to help companies overcome leading barriers to technology adoptions, including the implementation of rapidly re-deployable automation solutions on their factory floors.

Shift 2.0 will turn innovative strategies for improving Western New York manufacturing facilities into a high-tech reality,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight. “With a goal of bringing more high-quality jobs to the region, Shift 2.0 and Buffalo Manufacturing Works will provide Buffalo-Niagara’s manufacturers with the tools they need to expand and become more competitive. This initiative reflects Governor Hochul’s continued commitment to providing the resources needed to fuel the area’s economic growth.”

Shift 2.0 builds on the established infrastructure of Buffalo Manufacturing Works, which has created a nationally-recognized hub of advanced manufacturing innovation in East Buffalo as an anchor institution at the Northland campus, together with the Northland Workforce Training Center, Buffalo Manufacturing Works is designed to position it as the cornerstone of a growing ecosystem that enables existing manufacturers to become more competitive through innovation; collaboration with and the enhancement of existing workforce development initiatives to grow the regional skill base; and serving as an asset to attract manufacturers to the region that represent the new innovation-driven economy.

EWI President & CEO Henry Cialone said, “Innovative technology levels the playing field for small to medium-sized manufacturers. It allows them to produce better, faster and more efficiently. We know identifying, investing in and implementing that technology can seem like a daunting task for many manufacturers. Shift 2.0 provides education and engineering support for manufacturers who don’t know how or where to start and will help identify advanced manufacturing technology improvements that can be implemented for immediate results at no-cost to the manufacturer thanks to key support from Empire State Development and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.” 

Buffalo Manufacturing Works, operated by EWI, established the “Shift” Program in 2017. Through workshops and a full suite of services it provided unparalleled expertise and tailored solutions to small and medium sized manufacturers (SMMs), allowing them to produce their products better, faster, and more efficiently.  The program’s purpose has been to tailor solutions to help local companies utilize innovative technology to reach their goals.  It has assisted approximately 250 manufacturers over a four-year period, through workshops and a full suite of services tailored to these companies’ needs.

The new Shift 2.0 effort is being financed by a $5 million ESD grant to EWI to build on strategies established for individual companies to help implement advanced manufacturing technologies—known as “Industry 4.0” technologies—which would include, but would not be limited to, digital automation, big data, artificial intelligence, cloud technologies, and collaborative robot technology. The objective of the program is to increase Industry 4.0 technology adoption capacity of Western New York SMMs to drive capital upgrades, productivity growth in manufacturing, global competitiveness, and job retention and creation. This funding expands on the previously announced funding won through the EDA’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge, allowing Buffalo Manufacturing Works to leverage State and Federal funding to best support Western New York SMMs.

An Industry 4.0 ecosystem will also be developed under the program, including peer groups, technology events, hands-on training, original equipment manufacturer interactions, and other high impact initiatives that support companies as they implement new and innovative technologies. As part of this program, EWI engineers will develop SMM-focused advanced manufacturing technology solutions, including non-fixed equipment such as a mobile collaborative robot (cobot) platform/unit, that will make it easy for SMMs to implement Industry 4.0 technologies into their production processes.

EWI/Buffalo Manufacturing Works anticipates the following results by the completion of the Shift 2.0 in 2025:

  • At least 90 SMMs engaged in the ecosystem through any combination of peer groups,  technology events, business assessments, training, or automation implementation.
  • At least 30 companies completing implementation of an automation system.
  • Tailoring of the core SMM mobile cobot platform/unit specifically for actual use/implementation by SMMs for machine tending and related applications.
  • At least 80 individuals trained either through formal automation classes or as part of SMM implementation projects.
  • Purchase of at least three cobot cells/units to facilitate the creation of a SMM cobot loan program.

Manufacturers interested in participating in Shift 2.0 can find out more about the free program by visiting

Buffalo Manufacturing Works is now located in a 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility at Northland Central.  It was created through an initial $45 million state investment for operations and fit out on an interim location through ESD’s Buffalo Regional Innovation Cluster initiative, also known as the Buffalo Billion, with an additional $35 million provided to support the organization’s move and expansion to its permanent home on the Northland Campus.

“EDA is proud to support the vision of the Western New York Advanced Manufacturing coalition,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This EDA investment will help transform Buffalo, bringing economic opportunities to communities that need it most, while also positioning the region to remain competitive and on an innovative trajectory for decades to come.”

Senator Tim Kennedy said, “This expansion will truly allow manufacturers in Western New York to elevate production with innovative, efficient strategies. I’m thrilled to see Buffalo Manufacturing Works and EWI provide this level of support and solution-driven collaboration, and firmly believe it will continue to bolster our workforce and manufacturing industry as a whole.”

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “I’d like to thank ESD for providing the capital for EWI’s capital improvements, and I’d also like to congratulate and thank EWI for being a resource for regional manufacturers to improve their operations. Increasing efficiencies and production capacities through innovation, technology, workforce development and training leads to more industry competitiveness and better bottom lines for businesses which should translate to better bottom lines for Western New York households.”

City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, “This initiative is a wonderful addition to the growing landscape of innovation, manufacturing and technology that has taken root in our city. The growth of technology and jobs are two things that go hand-in-hand. As we see this initiative expand and help small-to-midsized manufacturers, we will also see more jobs added to the, already growing, base of jobs in the city of Buffalo.”

About Empire State Development Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Hochul’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NY” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit and

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Determining the Optimum Hydrogen Soak Times for Steel Pipe Testing

While the goal of establishing an efficient hydrogen economy increases steadily, there is still only limited data related to impact of gaseous H2 on pipe steel. Activities in EWI’s new hydrogen environmental are underway to address this issue.

Required Soaking Time for Hydrogen Testing, a new paper by Applications Engineer Jesse Rhodes, describes work being done in the EWI lab to gain a better understanding of diffusion rates and establish acceptable soak times for accurate testing. To read about this work, simply complete and submit the form on this page.

To discuss this topic with the author, contact [email protected]. To learn more about EWI’s hydrogen testing lab capabilities, contact [email protected].

Complete this form to download the paper:

To view the paper, please submit the form above.

Want to contact an EWI expert about a project? Call 614.688.5152 or click here.

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Fabrisonic Moves to 30,000-square-foot Facility

Fabrisonic LLC

More than a dozen years ago, EWI worked on an innovative concept that applied ultrasonic welding to successive layers of metal tape to build up a solid, three-dimensional shape. This additive technique had the ability to join different metals together and enabled in-process machining of the part. Ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) was patented, and in 2011 EWI’s metal 3D printing spinout, Fabrisonic, was born.

Since its inception, Fabrisonic has developed four SonicLayer UAM machines of different sizes/capacities and has been awarded nine patents. While independent from its parent, Fabrisonic has been incubated within the walls of EWI’s Columbus facility. Last month, however, the company announced its move to a 30,000 square-foot facility in Lewis Center, Ohio. With steadily increasing business, the move offers the required floor space for extended manufacturing capacity in the coming years.

Fabrisonic -- ultrasonic additive manufacturing

The new location enables Fabrisonic to optimize its manufacturing operations and better configure the existing equipment for serial production runs. The staff remains virtually unchanged. “The across-town move does not adversely impact Fabrisonic employees, and has allowed the company to maintain access to its current talent pool and attract new employees to accommodate growth,” said Mark Norfolk, Fabrisonic president and CEO. “Although it’s time for us to spread our wings and move out of mom and dad’s basement, we’re staying close to our hometown engineering roots.” Fabrisonic also upgraded its entire IT infrastructure to a higher security platform that meets government sensitive data requirements.

if you would like to tour Fabrisonic’s new facility or learn more about its capabilities and services, visit

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Welding & Joining Courses for Engineering Professionals Set for Early 2023

EWI is pleased to offer the following professional training courses in the first half of 2023:

Fundamentals of Welding Engineering

This five-day course provides engineers and technicians with an overview of the various aspects of welding technology. The course is organized into modules discussing welding processes, welding metallurgy and weldability, welding design and testing (including mechanical testing and NDT), and qualifications and procedure review. The spring class is scheduled for March 6-10 in Columbus, OH. Additional sessions are planned for summer and fall.

Certified Welding Instructor (CWI) Prep Course

If you are interested in becoming a CWI or are already planning to take the AWS CWI/CWE exam, this class will present a thorough overview of essential knowledge and practical skills, including welding fundamentals and processes, metal properties, destructive processes, NDE methods, workmanship requirements, procedure qualification, code study, and an inspection practicum.

Two sessions are scheduled 2023: 1) Buffalo, NY, February 13-17, and 2) Columbus, OH, June 5-9.

Welding Metallurgy — Online

This web-based course provides an overview of physical metallurgy, welding metallurgy of steel, and welding metallurgy of stainless steels. Each of these three parts can be completed individually as short courses to earn 7.5 PDH credits or taken as one comprehensive course to complete the Welding Metallurgy micro-credential (22.5 PDH credits). For a detailed description and registration information, click here.

Fundamentals of Nondestructive Testing — Online

This self-paced course gives students an introduction to nondestructive examination methods and applications. It focuses on three specific testing modes: surface inspection, radiography, and ultrasonics. Each section can be completed on its own by a student to earn 7.5 PDH credits, or all three can be taken together to complete the Fundamentals of NDT micro-credential to earn 22.5 PDH credits. For a detailed description and registration information, click here.

Additional courses will be added to the calendar in the coming weeks. To see the most up-to-date listing, visit

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EWI’s New H2 Environmental Testing Lab — Open for Business

In support of industry-wide investment in carbon neutrality with a key component being a transition to hydrogen as a utility fuel, EWI has developed a unique laboratory capability for testing of material properties under exposure to high-pressure, gaseous H2 environments.

Understanding the influence of hydrogen embrittlement and hydrogen-assisted cracking on the performance of critical infrastructure is essential for safe operation in an H2 energy future. To provide insight into the influence of pressurized hydrogen gas on fracture mechanics properties, EWI’s new H2 environmental testing lab includes a fleet of capable pressure vessels and load frames that allow for a range of tests to be executed under environment. Hydrogen, the smallest molecule known on earth, has a way of evading containment. Therefore, development of test equipment that can safely contain high-pressure hydrogen gas while also actively loading fracture mechanics specimens is not trivial.

EWI has assembled a robust set of equipment specifically designed and dedicated to materials properties evaluation in active hydrogen environments. It should be noted that this is not a combination of pre-soaking or electrochemically charging a specimen with hydrogen, then performing fracture mechanics testing in-air. Rather, testing is performed while the hydrogen environment is contained around the specimen, which allows for direct correlation of the progressive influence of hydrogen on fracture properties.

All the testing to be performed in the hydrogen environmental testing lab is backed by internally developed and verified standard operating procedures. EWI has also committed to investing internal research and development resources to ensure this laboratory is capable of addressing the most complex challenges.

The following is a selection of the tests that can be executed under active gaseous hydrogen:

  • Slow Strain Rate Testing – environmentally-assisted tensile properties
  • ASME B31.12 – KIEAC/KIH fracture toughness evaluation
  • Actively-loaded Fracture Toughness Testing – monotonic load controlled and rising step-loaded regimens
  • Fatigue Crack Growth Rate Measurement and S/N Fatigue Evaluation

The first phase of EWI’s hydrogen environmental testing laboratory is fully functional with multiple integrated load frames and static pressure vessels capable of 2000 psi hydrogen (up to 100% pure H2). Expansion is already underway to include dedicated space to operate several more load frames with higher pressure (5000 psi), higher temperature (650 F) pressure vessel.

For more information about specific testing and evaluation capabilities to support your decarbonization efforts, please contact Joshua James at [email protected] or Jon Jennings at [email protected].

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2022: EWI’s Year in Review

EWI’s goal is to consistently deliver high-end technology innovation and stellar service in manufacturing processes to our clients. In 2022, we addressed customers’ needs in both areas through the following activities:

  • Presented applicable, technology-driven research at more than 100 professional events and published more than 30 technical papers and reports
  • Provided hands-on, in-person training to more than 150 students in welding engineering, robotics and automation, forming, Autodesk PowerMill®, and additive manufacturing
  • Introduced self-paced, online courses in welding metallurgy and nondestructive testing
  • Expanded our service areas by opening and expanding lab resources in cold spray technology, hydrogen testing, large-scale additive manufacturing, corrosion assessment, tele-manufacturing, and automated/robotic process development

Get a visual overview of EWI’s 2022 highlights by clicking on the graphic below:

EWI: The Year in Review

If you need assistance in the coming months, there are many ways that EWI can help your organization succeed. Please reach out to us if you would like to discuss a new product or project. We can be contacted at 614.688.5152 or by clicking the button below:

 As always, EWI looks forward to serving you in 2023 and beyond.

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