ONAMI researchers land one of the first Walmart US Manufacturing Innovation Funds grants

August 15th, 2014

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University has been chosen for one of the first seven grants from the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund created by Walmart and The Walmart Foundation to help accelerate manufacturing in the United States. The Microproducts Breakthrough Institute in Corvallis, an ONAMI Technology Lab, will be the principal venue for research activities, and lead investigators Sundar Atre and Rajiv Malhotra are both ONAMI member researchers.

A $590,000 grant will support the development of innovations in plastics injection molding – one of the most common manufacturing processes for making consumer products – in which melted plastic resins are injected into a shaped cavity made by two metallic molds.

“Current practices for fabricating these molds are labor-intensive and costly, and much of the mold material is wasted as metal chips,” said Atre, OSU associate professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering. “We estimate that mold-making costs can be reduced by 40 to 50 percent. That will give U.S. manufacturing an edge,” Atre added.

Over the course of the three-year project, Atre and his co-principal investigator, Oregon State mechanical engineering assistant professor Rajiv Malhotra, will work with three industrial partners – Metal Technology, Inc., in neighboring Albany, Ore., plus Arburg and North American Höganäs – to develop and test their manufacturing innovations.

This story is based on the August 14, 2014, OSU News and Research Communications news release, which can be read in its entirely at: http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2014/aug/walmart-and-walmart-foundation-award-osu-grant-help-boost-us-manufacturing.