Service Network Inc. Leads Effort to Form a Grinding Research Center


Service Network, Inc., builder of precision OD and ID grinding machines is spearheading an effort with Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) to form a grinding research center located in Worcester, Massachusetts. The grinding research center will host industry consortiums, each with an individual focus. The consortium currently being introduced is termed a practical applications research consortium and will focus on improving member firms' grinding processes by studying key segments of the grinding process.

The advisory board lists internationally recognized contributors to grinding process knowledge including Robert Hahn, Stephen Malkin and John Webster.

Among the distinctive features of the grinding research center and this consortium, under the direction of Chris Brown, is that an abrasive process lab and surface metrology lab work together. WPI's Surface Metrology Lab is internationally known for its work on the measurement and characterization of surface textures and topography in diverse applications and for discoveries of the correlations between roughness, adhesion and friction. This is key to abrasive process research since abrasive processes use the surface topographies of the abrasive to create surfaces on the workpiece while the workpiece abrades the abrasive. The capability to examine this interaction is valuable to harnessing potential improvements in the grinding process. This laboratory affiliation opens the way to new approaches to better understand the grinding process and to capitalize on opportunities that take the shape of practical applications.

"Service Network, in leading the effort to develop the grinding center and this consortium, contributes various levels of support including use of it's OEM OD and ID precision grinding machines," Jim Camp of Service Network says in a statement. "Saint-Gobain has joined WPI and Service Network as a cosponsor. The cosponsors believe that because grinding is a high-value-added process it plays an essential role in industrialized countries, and that a grinding center and consortiums like this one reinforce our global competitiveness."

Combining the strengths of a world-class technical institution, two world-class research laboratories, a prominent machine tool builder, a renowned abrasives manufacturer and industry partners all focused on developing ways to grind more efficiently presents an opportunity worth consideration. Membership is currently forming for this practical applications consortium. Contact Jim Camp at Service Network, Inc. at 508 754-2739 ext. 203, or see the Center for Advanced Abrasive Processes web site at www.me.wpi.edu/MFE/CAAP/ for more information.

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