Westmoreland, Allegheny companies to benefit from manufacturing grants

By Megan Tomasic, TRIB Live

Several Westmoreland and Allegheny county manufacturers will benefit from state grants focusing on the Manufacturing PA initiative.

Approved by Gov. Tom Wolf Friday, the grants embed graduate and undergraduate students with local manufacturers where they will start research projects aimed at developing new technologies and advancing innovation across the state.

Universities that partner with a manufacturer can apply for between $25,000 and $70,000 in funding for student research projects.

In Westmoreland County, companies in Unity, North Huntingdon and Hempfield are taking advantage of the initiative.

At the ExOne Company in North Huntingdon, which received a $69,992 grant, a Carnegie Mellon University student will study the effects of Binder Jet 3D printed biomaterials, which uses a liquid binding agent to join powder particles. Through a $68,680 grant, a University of Pittsburgh student at the company will study the process of Binder Jet 3D printed nickel-based superalloys, which can withstand high temperatures and high stresses.

A Carnegie Mellon University student with a $69,883 grant at Kennametal’s Unity facility will study the use of different materials for the development of metal-cutting tools in advanced manufacturing while a University of Pittsburgh student with $67,720 in funding will study different processes in advanced ceramic manufacturing.

A University of Pittsburgh student with a $69,037 grant at General Carbide in Hempfield will focus on metal composites produced in tungsten carbide.

In Allegheny County, companies receiving grant money include Robert Bosch in Pittsburgh with $69,999, the Wabtec Corporation in Wilmerding with $64,060 and TAKTL in Turtle Creek with $64,877.

A Carnegie Mellon University student at Robert Bosch plans to develop a monitoring system based on acoustics for further manufacturing production. At Wabtec, another Carnegie Mellon student will focus on 3D printing sensors to monitor cracks in freight car components.

A Drexel University student plans on testing fiber-reinforced concrete at TAKTL.

Armstrong County-based Oberg Industries in Freeport was awarded $69,991 for a Carnegie Mellon student to study an electrochemical-mechanical grinding approach to create curved surfaces.

Across the state, $1.7 million in grants funded 26 projects. The fellowship started as a collaboration with state institutions, manufacturers and industrial resource centers. Funds are administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

“There is a direct correlation between manufacturing innovation and economic growth,” Wolf said in the release. “My administration continues working to foster a robust innovation culture and strong partnerships between academia and the business sector across the state. Working together, we are positioning Pennsylvania as a manufacturing leader in the nation.”