Startup commercializes Purdue technology to cut titanium, steel at lower cost, greater efficiency

September 22, 2015  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. and NICEVILLE, Fla. - Titanium Laser Tech Inc., a manufacturing startup based on a Purdue University innovation, could reduce manufacturing costs and speed the production of hard-to-machine materials like titanium, which is often used in aerospace, military and commercial applications.

"To cut through materials like titanium or steel at cost-effective production rates, the cutting tool needs to reach cutting speeds of 150-200 feet per minute. Current machining systems, such as CNC lathes, are only able to reach speeds of 60 feet per minute when cutting titanium and other exotic materials," said Frank Oliver, CTO. "In addition, at such speeds the cutting tool lasts about three to five minutes before it starts to degrade."

Titanium Laser Tech has licensed a technology that can improve a cutting tool's life two- to three-fold while dramatically reducing costs.

"Our technology would extend conventional machining-cutting tool life from three to five minutes to two hours depending on the type of material it is cutting. The higher cutting speed allows for increased throughput and increased efficiency," Oliver said. "This method would dramatically reduce manufacturing costs due to the reduced operation time per part and lower overall material waste, increasing cost savings to 30-40 percent. That is huge for companies that work with these materials on a large scale."

Oliver said the technology uses a combination of heating and cooling systems to increase machining speeds to increase output and efficiency.

"The technology heats a portion of the material with a laser beam so that it becomes malleable and easier to turn or cut," he said. "Cryogenic cooling is then used to cool the cutting tool all while preventing the cryogenic fluid from coming in contact with the material, so that the material keeps its micro structure, which is very important, especially in materials like titanium."

Oliver said similar machining processes currently on the market are unable to match the speed and extended tool life that Titanium Laser Tech has achieved.

"Some companies use a laser-assisted machining process but because it doesn't address the heat that is transferred to the cutting tool, the speed stays around 60 feet per minute, which is too slow to cut through materials like titanium," he said. "Because of the cryogenic cooling method our technology uses, we increase the machining speed, creating a material removal rate at around 800 percent."

Oliver said the company is actively looking for industry partners to help move the company to its next stage.

"We're ready to construct a prototype of our technology to use in industry demonstrations and are looking for resources to help us do so," he said. "We welcome any kind of industry partners, funding or investors."

Titanium Laser Tech licensed the innovation through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. More than 20 startups based on Purdue intellectual property were launched in the 2015 fiscal year.

For information on other Purdue intellectual property ready for licensing and commercialization, visit http://www.otc-prf.org. For more information about available leadership positions, investing in a Purdue startup or licensing a Purdue innovation, visit http://www.purduefoundry.com.

About Titanium Laser Tech Inc.
The Titanium Laser Tech team is dedicated to bringing advancements in hard-to-machine material to the forefront.

About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year by the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at innovation@prf.org 

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Hillary Henry, 765-588-3586, hkhenry@prf.org 

Source: Frank Oliver, 520-603-3573 

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