Engineers at 3M have picked up the TechAmerica Foundation’s American Technology Award in the manufacturing category for the development of the company’s Cubitron II cutting and grinding material.
Cubitron II is made from triangular-shaped ceramic grains, electrostatically oriented with their cutting edges facing the work surface to form sharp peaks, each acting like individual cutting tools that wear evenly. As the triangular-shaped grains wear, they continuously fracture to form sharp points and edges.
Robert Cowan, manufacturing technology manager for 3M Abrasive Systems Division, accepted the award on the company’s behalf, noting that industrial metal fabricators using Cubitron II-based products are reporting productivity gains in ranges of up to 100 per cent or more, underscoring the fact that products (such as disks and belts) made from the material decrease friction and result in cooler workpiece temperatures.
’This helps to eliminate burnishing, oxidation and discolouring while producing fewer heat-related stress cracks in high-cost end parts, including implantable medical orthopaedic devices,’ Cowan said.
3M has 16 pending patents with the US Patents and Trademark Office on the Cubitron II technology.
The TechAmerica Foundation, launched in 1981, is an affiliate of TechAmerica, an organisation formed by a merger of the American Electronics Association, the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, the Information Technology Association of America, and the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association.