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Anderson group wins FLC award

Ames Laboratory senior metallurgist Iver Anderson and his team are winners of a 2017 Excellence in Technology Transfer Award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Mid-Continent Region.

The FLC recognized the development of a “hot-shot” pour tube at Ames Laboratory that when adapted into a high-efficiency nozzle can produce titanium powder by a method  that  is approximately 10 times more efficient than traditional powder-making methods, thus significantly lowering the cost of high-quality, fine, spherical titanium powder to manufacturers  by as much as  80 percent.  Known for its high strength, lightweight, biocompatibility and resistance to corrosion, titanium powder is ideal for a variety of parts, from components for artificial limbs, like those used by wounded veterans, to military vehicle components, biomedical implants, aerospace fasteners and chemical plant valves.


Schematic of titanium Close-Coupled Gas Atomization set-up utilizing the “hot shot” composite pour tube.

In addition to Anderson, the award is shared by Andy Heidloff and Joel Reiken, formerly of Ames Laboratory and now of Praxair Surface Technologies, Inc.; and David Byrd, Ross Anderson and Emma White of Ames Laboratory. 

“Our team is very proud to accept this FLC award,” said Anderson.  “It helps us keep pushing Ames Laboratory’s processing science forward to these ultimate technology transitions involving our people.”

Titanium powder produced using the hot-shot pour tube has enabled a dramatic shift in manufacturing away from traditional titanium casting/forging methods to net-shape forming, a materials and energy efficient powder consolidation technique. This highly successful manufacturing technique led to the formation of a multi-award winning start-up company, Iowa Powder Atomization Technologies, which was purchased in 2014 by Praxair Surface Technologies.  In 2015, Praxair began international sales of spherical titanium powder for additive manufacturing and metal injection molding for aerospace, medical and industrial parts. 

In a letter of support for Ames Laboratory in the FLC competition, Dean Hackett, vice president of Praxair Surface Technologies, Inc., said, “Ames Laboratory is uniquely equipped and staffed with talented researchers who work as a team to develop breakthrough technologies in the production of atomized powders.  Praxair Surface Technologies has chosen to commercialize the titanium atomization technology from Ames and also to hire two of the three investigators (Heidloff and Reiken) that were responsible for this unique titanium atomization process.”

The FLC was organized in 1974 and formally chartered by the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 to promote and strengthen technology transfer nationwide. Today, more than 300 federal laboratories, facilities and research centers and their parent agencies make up the FLC community. Members of the FLC community include world–renowned scientists, engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs, academia, laboratory personnel, and technology-transfer professionals.

In congratulating Anderson and his team of scientists on the award, Ames Laboratory Director Adam Schwartz said the award demonstrates Ames Laboratory’s commitment to the Department of Energy’s mission of transferring technologies to the marketplace for the benefit of the American taxpayer.  “We are very proud to join Iver and his team in celebrating this technological success,” said Schwartz, “And we’ll look forward to many anticipated future successes.”

Winners of the FLC award will be honored at the upcoming meeting of the FLC Mid-Continent and Far West Regions that will take place August 29-31 in Pasadena, California.