A thermal processing consortium led by ASM International received funding in May to develop a technology roadmap for thermal manufacturing processes such as melting, drying, smelting, heat treating and curing.

Unlike earlier efforts, which were aligned with specific industry segments such as pulp and paper or chemicals, the Thermal Manufacturing Industries Advanced Technology Consortium (TMI ATC) will focus on identifying common thermal manufacturing needs and challenges. The consortium then will develop a unified set of research priorities and advanced-technology goals that encompass the full thermal manufacturing value chain. According to NIST, which awarded the grant, advanced thermal manufacturing technologies such as improved waste-heat recovery and deployment of robust, real-time sensors have the great potential to improve the energy efficiency and competitive performance of a broad swath of U.S. manufacturers, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises.

ASM International, Materials Park, Ohio, will lead the consortium. According to Nexight Group, ASM's technology partner for the $400,000 grant, several other associations, including the ASM Heat Treating Society, the Industrial Heating Equipment Association and the Metal Treating Institute will participate.