An ignition chamber for innovation in industry: Fermilab attends the Advanced Manufacturing Summit

From May 7-8, I attended the Advanced Manufacturing Summit at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

The summit was the third in the InnovationXLab Series, which is designed to showcase the vast resources in the Department of Energy national laboratories that can be wielded for innovation in industry. By partnering with the private sector, we can help launch new industries and rejuvenate domestic manufacturing.

At the summit, leaders from the labs and industry met to catalyze public-private partnerships and look for opportunities to commercialize technologies developed in the labs. More than 350 people from 30 states came to the summit. U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry gave the keynote address and, in a fireside chat with Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thomas Zacharia, talked about how DOE can be a leader in manufacturing and computing. We heard from several DOE and national lab leaders. And panels of experts discussed a wide range of topics about innovation in industry, including reviving advanced manufacturing; the challenges of manufacturing in an increasingly digital world; and energizing the entrepreneurial economy.

The summit also featured an exhibit, and Thomas Kroc and I represented Fermilab at our booth. This gave us a chance to promote Fermilab innovations that, though they have their roots in particle physics, can be applied in advanced manufacturing, the environment, medicine, aerospace and national security. Our patent-pending electron beam technology can 3-D-print high-performance metals, expanding the use of additive manufacturing into refractory metals. Our compact detector systems can lead to a high-resolution, high-speed imaging system that can detect internal defects in a variety of materials. We’re also proudly addressing a key challenge in quantum information science by leveraging a core technology used to advance particle accelerators: ultraefficient, superconducting resonators. Our scientists and engineers are extending the coherence time needed to maintain the quantum state in qubits, increasing the time available to carry out complex computations and storing quantum information.

Fermilab Deputy Director for Administration Tim Meyer and Fermilab Office of Technology Transfer Head Cherri Schmidt attended several advanced manufacturing sessions and met with attendees, speakers, and exhibitors. Together, we established several interesting contacts at the event and met our counterparts from across 16 of the 17 national laboratories — and that’s why they put the X in InnovationXLab!

Aaron Sauers is Fermilab’s patent and licensing executive. More information about innovations and technologies at Fermilab is available on our Partnerships and Technology Transfer website.