CLINTON, TENN. (May 8, 2019) –– There is much talk these days about collaboration. Much of it is just talk. So, it’s nice to see true collaboration in action, yielding real results.
That’s what is happening with the joint efforts of privately held materials design firm Techmer PM with several partners, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the largest open science laboratory of the U.S. government’s Department of Energy (DOE).
Techmer PM’s work with Oak Ridge, Tenn.‐based ORNL, which began in earnest in 2013 with collaboration on a carbon fiber project, quickly developed later that year into joint research and development on the emerging technology of large‐part 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM). Much has transpired since then, with the latest development involving Techmer PM launching a new high‐capacity, twin‐screw production line at its Clinton, Tenn., site during a ceremony held at ORNL on May 7.
“We’re proud that this federal/private industry model is bringing a competitive edge to our industry and nation,” said John Manuck, Techmer PM founder, chairman, and CEO. “Global competition is all about developing and applying new technologies in every industry sector. Techmer is pleased to be working closely with ORNL and IACMI, both of which are playing critical roles in helping to complete this mission.”
The announcement was made at the Advanced Manufacturing Summit, the third in the InnovationXLab series designed to showcase the assets of DOE’s national labs. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee were among the featured guest speakers. Techmer PM held a separate ceremony at its Clinton headquarters the same day for the benefit of employees and local dignitaries.
This latest advancement marks the continuing growth of a federal/private industry partnership that has involved a number of partners, including Techmer PM, the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI – The Composites Institute), academia, machinery makers Cincinnati Inc., Thermwood Corp., and Ingersoll Machine Tools Inc., and other key members of the supply chain.
“IACMI is excited to support Techmer PM’s leadership in additive manufacturing materials through collaborative technical projects within our community of industry members, universities, and national laboratories,” said IACMI CEO John A. Hopkins. “We work hard to co‐ create opportunities for companies to develop and validate innovative materials and processes and are honored to be a part of Techmer’s journey.”
It’s been a long road to get to where the company is today. In 1988 Techmer PM opened a manufacturing plant in Clinton to design and produce modified polymers or plastics. The company grew and expanded greatly over the next 25 years, leading to the greater engagement with Oak Ridge in late 2013.
Techmer PM spent the next several months producing small quantities of carbon-reinforced polymers that it transported to ORNL for testing on Oak Ridge’s new 3D printing machine. By the fall of 2014, ORNL was printing a car using Techmer’s specially designed 3D materials. It became worldwide news in January 2015 when then‐President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited Techmer’s Clinton plant to view the completed replica of an electric‐motor‐driven Shelby Cobra.
This early collaboration demonstrated the potential of additive manufacturing to Techmer PM leadership, who decided to invest heavily into furthering the technology. In the five or so years since, the market has grown sharply, with early‐adopter OEMs – including companies in aerospace, military, construction, and automotive – fueling the explosion. To satisfy its strong growth, the AM sector needed more sophisticated and specialized engineered materials. Techmer PM, already an early believer, was all‐in on partnering with these companies to make that happen.
“ORNL’s research partnership with Techmer has produced exceptional scientific achievements in advanced materials and manufacturing,” said Moe Khaleel, ORNL associate laboratory director for Energy and Environmental Sciences. “We are pleased to see these innovations result in real impact on the local and state economy as the company expands its production line in East Tennessee. The success of such collaborations furthers ORNL’s mission of developing technology solutions to support the nation’s economic success.”
Techmer PM, in conjunction with its partners, has done much research and testing that has led to the launch of additional commercial applications in 2018. That brings us to today, and the launch of the company’s newest high‐speed manufacturing line specifically designed to produce high‐quality, modified, carbon fiber‐reinforced polymers to support growing demand for 3D‐printed products. Techmer PM has added and will continue adding and training employees at all levels to support this growth.
About Techmer PM
Techmer PM is a leading polymer materials design company that works in deep partnership with plastics processors, OEMs, and designers to solve some of their most difficult business, manufacturing, and sustainability challenges. For more than 35 years, we have helped consumer and industrial product manufacturers achieve the finest appearance, and functional enhancements for a limitless range of plastic product and fiber applications. Our focus is on high-performance areas where quality, technical support, and problem solving are critical. We operate seven production sites strategically located throughout North America, with worldwide manufacturing capabilities via strategic partners. Collaboration is a central theme to create innovative custom designs utilizing a broad range of polymer systems. Techmer PM was recognized by Plastics News on its “Best Places to Work” list in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019. Learn more by visiting techmerpm.com.