Aziz Asphahani, President and CEO of QuesTek Innovations LLC, showed the manufacturing executives at the 2014 Manufacturing Leadership Summit, held this week in Palm Beach, Fla., how his company has used Integrated Computational Materials Engineering, or ICME, to develop and commercialize breakthrough materials and alloys that dramatically cut the time to market for a wide range of products.
He began by laying out the need for high-performance materials that can improve performance in a variety of fields. For example, biomedical products such as titanium implants currently have to be removed after healing. But what if they not only could remain in the body as bio-absorbable implants, but also actually emit substances that would help with healing?
His company decided to tackle cutting the time it takes—up to 20 years—to design and deploy alloys used in aerospace applications. QuesTek Materials By Design used ICME to tackle the potential failure oflanding gears and replace the toxic coatings used for F-18s and other aircraft. The result, Ferrium S53, took less than half the usual time to market for aerospace materials. QuesTek also used ICME to design Ferrium M54 steel; rig-testing of M54 prototype hook-shanks showed a five-time improvement in performance over incumbent steel, including superior fatigue life and lower machining costs. The material has applications in everything from oil and gas equipment to auto-sport transmission shafts. And that's just for starters: The company's Additive Manufacturing project's alloy modeling and development has been awarded subcontracts under a number of military projects.
"We need to have a more scientific approach to providing an additive manufacturing process, using a mechanistic rather than an empirical approach." he said.
Do you agree that "enabling" materials will be essential to U.S. competitiveness moving forward?
Written by Sue Pelletier
I am a contributing editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Council's Journal.