Expanding EWI’s Automation Services and Resources

While manufacturing automation has been on the rise for decades, the pandemic revealed both pressing needs and new methods for harnessing robotic power. The labor shortages of the Covid era, coupled with broad advances in collaborative robot technology during the past five years, gave us the market pull and technology push to quickly up our automation offerings.

Birds-eye view of tele-welding at EWI’s laboratory

Over the past three years, EWI’s automation capabilities have expanded steadily to bring clients the services they need. Today we have two outstanding labs – one in Columbus and one in Buffalo – dedicated to applied R&D and client projects. While the functional activities in the two labs differ from each other, they have similar overriding goals: to help manufacturers make the most practical use of today’s leading automation technologies.

Here’s a quick look at our current resources:

In Columbus — EWI’s flagship office has always been home to a talented design, controls, and automation group which has supported our efforts across all technologies since our founding in the 1980s. When the group received combined EWI and Navy funding in 2018 to develop remote tele-welding (and, subsequently, other tele-manufacturing processes), the group started taking up floor space with the building and testing of system prototypes. Around the same time, our arc welding and AM specialists set up dedicated space for large-scale robotic DED research commissioned by the Navy. These two initiatives set a solid foundation to help manufacturers supplement demand and increase efficiency through automation as the labor pool tightened – and the call for more process automation grew.

EWI guest testing out tele-welding in the PAL

Early this year, we set up a designated process automation lab (PAL) where we can devise automated process solutions for customers, specifically as they relate to industrial robots and cobots. The lab is a large  space that can be reconfigured to test applications in a controlled setting before scaling up to full-size industrial robotics in our clients’ factories. Currently, we have three UR cobot systems and an industrial Kuka robotic arm. Soon, the lab will house our second Navus multi-process cell, as well. For a quick look at activities in the PAL, check out this short tour (video) led by Project Engineer Logan McNeil.

In Buffalo — When EWI established Buffalo Manufacturing Works eight years ago, helping small and mid-sized manufacturers (SMMs) learn how to integrate automation was part of its core mission. However, what started as a modest “Robot Row” in our first facility is now a flexible, 3000 ft2 lab that is suitable for both R&D and solution-oriented training. This space was recently doubled to accommodate our client-related activities.

The Buffalo automation lab

In addition, Buffalo houses a separate robotics training lab outfitted with a dozen student work cells for teaching basic robotic assembly and programming. Over the last several years, we’ve hosted classes for high school and college students, participants in the “SHIFT 2.0” program, Northland Training Center students, and manufacturing professionals from companies of all sizes. We offer several standardized courses each year, and also customized courses for companies that have specific training goals.

According to Automation Program Manager Matt Malloy, “Our setup enables us to assist SMMs in two ways: First, by helping them develop straightforward, practical automation solutions for their shops using available, cost-efficient robotic equipment, and second, by educating them on the broad use-capabilities of today’s leading automation techniques.”

Meeting Your Automation Needs

EWI’s automation services are broad, and our capabilities continue to grow. Let us know if you need help with automation solutions in your organization. Contact Logan McNeil ([email protected]) or Connie LaMorte ([email protected]) in Columbus, or Matt Malloy ([email protected]) in Buffalo.

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EWI to Host Special Sustainability Workshop at CAR MBS

If you work for an automotive OEM or supplier and are involved with environment, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues at your company, EWI would like to invite you to attend a free breakfast workshop on Wednesday, August 2, 2023. ESG Initiatives: Moving the Needle for Manufacturing will take place at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Traverse City, Michigan, in conjunction with the CAR Management Briefing Seminar events.

With a long history of working with automotive companies to solve their challenges though technology innovation, EWI has developed analytical instruments – already implemented within industry – to help achieve environmental goals associated with consumption and decarbonization. These tools can help your company:

  • evaluate your current system and determine the baseline,
  • develop your process to achieve significant carbon reduction, and
  • measure to validate improvements after implementation.
Jerry Gould

What’s more, EWI’s efforts have already yielded substantial successes – in some cases, reducing scrap up to 30% and utility consumption 80%!

Doug Myers

The workshop leaders will be EWI Senior Technology Leader Jerry Gould and Automotive Business Director Doug Myers, who will share EWI’s expertise and experience in engineering for sustainability. Please plan to join them to learn how your organization can incorporate tools and processes that can help you meet your ESG goals.

There is no charge to attend the workshop, but registration is required.

Questions or more information, contact Michelle Bulan at [email protected].

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EWI’s 40 Years of Responsible Environmental Stewardship

By Henry Cialone
President & CEO, EWI

EWI is quickly approaching our 40th year in business. These decades of experience have been filled with accelerating technological revolutions, dramatic market shifts, and major political changes worldwide. Staying ahead of the evolving needs of industry is something EWI prides itself on. In recent years, a request that has frequently come to us is to help reduce a company’s carbon footprint and better foster environmental stewardship – although in the past, these requests were couched as needs to reduce energy and/or material costs.

As an extension of our customers’ development teams, EWI finds itself in a unique space when it comes to the environmental concerns of the industries it serves. Our focus has always been on enhancing manufacturing processes and addressing production challenges, but to truly serve our clients we must also assist these industries in looking and moving towards the future.

Many of our customers are adopting the business framework of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). Clients are no longer just asking, “Can we build it in a cost effective way?” but also, “Does the way we build it fit within our carbon goals?” EWI is perfectly situated to help answer this question for corporations as a trusted, unbiased source.

By identifying opportunities for process improvements that reduce energy consumption, reduce material waste, increase productivity, or minimize rework, companies can reduce their overall carbon footprint. EWI assists companies in evaluating and selecting materials and processes that lower environmental impact. Here is how we are doing this…

To read the full article, click here.

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Elliptical Wire Technology: Improved Tool-point Control in GMAW and Arc DED

Precise control of the wire electrode or “tool-point” position is critical in gas metal arc welding and arc directed energy deposition. Newly developed elliptical wire technology (EWT) offers improvements in tool-point control.

Recently, EWI completed a study of EWT, comparing many of its features against standard round-wire electrode feedstock. The promising results are discussed in Elliptical Wire Technology, a new paper by EWI Associate Engineer Jason Rausch and Senior Technology Leader Dennis Harwig.

You are invited to download this paper – for FREE – by completing the form on this page.

To discuss the potential benefits of EWT for your operation, contact [email protected].

Complete this form to download the paper:

To view the paper, please submit the form above.

To learn more about EWI’s work in arc welding and DED, click here.

Contact an EWI expert about a project at 614.688.5152 or click on contact us.

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EWI Grants Awards in Technical Excellence

Each year, EWI associates nominate their peers for the annual Technical Excellence Awards. We are pleased to announce three award winners this year – two engineers and one technician – all of whom have made outstanding contributions in applied R&D and new services for EWI clients.

Olga Eliseeva, Project Engineer

Olga Eliseeva
Olga Eliseeva

EWI has pioneered a groundbreaking new process for solidifying metal powder called resistance-based sintering. The technique produces fully consolidated parts with limited-to-no porosity and no sign of internal oxidation. This improved powder consolidation method can be used in place of die casting, metal injection molding, and hot isostatic pressing. Further, unique new material combinations can be produced through this method.  The leading research engineer for resistance-based sintering has been Olga Eliseeva. Olga joined the EWI resistance and solid-state group in 2021 after earning her Ph.D. from Texas A&M and has been a crucial player in both internal and client-based R&D since then. Her engineering experience and interests are broad, and over the past two years her work has involved resistance welding, design of experiments, data science, and additive manufacturing. In the past year, Olga has presented at numerous professional events, including MS&T, the AWS Professional Program at FABTECH, the Turbine Forum, and the ASSEMBLY Show. She was a featured guest earlier this year on the ASSEMBLY AUDIBLE podcast and was highlighted in the May/June issue of Advanced Materials and Processes.

Jesse Rhodes, Application Engineer

Jesse Rhodes and Kevin Collins
Jesse Rhodes and Kevin Collins

If you are a follower of EWI activity, you have seen a lot about the emerging hydrogen economy and our commitment to addressing the safety issues related to H2 transmission, distribution, and end-use systems. A key initiative in the past year has been to develop a robust framework for conducting extensive mechanical and metallurgical property testing on pipe steels and associated pipeline welds under a variety of hydrogen exposure scenarios. Jesse Rhodes, a member of our structural integrity group since 2021, has been the primary designer of EWI’s system for high-pressure H2 environment testing and serves as the lead engineer in our state-of-the-art hydrogen testing labs. Construction of the labs began in in May of 2022, and they officially opened to commercial activity in January. To address the challenges of conducting sophisticated tests in high-pressure hydrogen environments, Jesse designed a direct current potential drop (DCPD) system and an optimized pull rod sliding seal. He has also been involved in several internal research projects, and recently wrote a paper, Required Soaking Time for Hydrogen Testing. Jesse presented EWI’s work at the ISOPE meeting in Ottawa last month.

Kevin Collins, Senior Technician

Standing up two brand-new, pressurized environmental testing labs with seven servo-electric test frames, 24 pressure vessels, a DCPD system, a glovebox, an oxygen analyzer, and all the accompanying alarm, sensor, and ventilation systems is not a one-man job! Getting the hydrogen lab outfitted and operational in less than a year couldn’t have been achieved without the efforts of Kevin Collins, technician extraordinaire. Kevin came to EWI with experience in pipeline fracture, fatigue, and corrosion testing, having served for several years as an environmental engineering technician. He joined us in 2022 just as the equipment for the H2 lab started rolling through our doors. He has since worked tirelessly to integrate new machines into our labs safely and efficiently. Today, both set ups are fully functional, performing tests including slow strain rate, ASME B31.12 – KIEAC/KIH fracture toughness, actively-loaded fracture toughness, and fatigue crack growth rate measurement and S/N fatigue evaluation. To see the EWI offerings made possible by Kevin’s work, take a look at Materials Evaluation for Hydrogen Infrastructure.

Congratulations to these three talented EWI associates!

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