NCMS VALMT Team Wins Innovation “Oscar”

The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) today announced that its Volumetric Accuracy for Large Machine Tools (VALMT) project has been honored with a R&D 100 Award. VALMT, which pioneered an innovative process in volumetric error compensation for large machine tools, is the fifth R&D 100 Award NCMS has received. Widely recognized as the “Oscars of Innovation,” the annual R&D 100 Awards honor excellence in high technology products.

“VALMT will save ship and aircraft manufacturers millions of dollars,” said NCMS Vice President Chuck Ryan. “Machine tool calibrations used to take an entire week, with VALMT the same process can be performed in a day. The benefits of this technology aren’t just time savings; it will allow for more accurate parts, reducing or eliminating expensive re-work during assembly.”

The NCMS Collaborative R&D Process teamed private industry (Automated Precision Inc., The Boeing Corporation, Siemens Energy and Automation and MAG Cincinnati Machine, LLC) and the Department of Defense (U.S. Air Force Logistics Center, Naval Foundry and Propeller Center, U.S. Navy Fleet Readiness Center East, and the U.S. Army Anniston Depot) for the VALMT project, quickly developing the groundbreaking technology affordably, and with less risk than alternative “go it alone” R&D methods.

“The secret to the success of NCMS R&D is collaboration,” said NCMS President & CEO Rick Jarman. “Collaboration maximizes benefits and reduces risk and cost. This award is the latest validation that the NCMS collaborative model works.”

Winners of the R&D 100 Awards are selected by an independent judging panel and the editors of R&D Magazine. The publication and its online portal serve research scientists, engineers, and other technical staff members at high tech industrial companies and public and private laboratories around the world.

R&D 100 is not the only award to honor VALMT: the technology also received a coveted Defense Manufacturing Excellence Award for outstanding cooperative efforts on technology development between government, industry and academia (the seventh for NCMS). Northrop-Grumman recently selected VALMT to improve accuracies on their large-volume machine tools used for production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.