3M's landmark Cubitron II abrasives technology platform has won the TechAmerica Foundation's American Technology Award in the manufacturing category at the Foundation's annual awards dinner, held here last night at the Ronald Reagan Building.
The Foundation's awards - also known as "Termans" in honor of Frederick Terman, the late Stanford University engineering professor who is widely regarded as the father of Silicon Valley - are presented annually to signify American industry's best technological achievements in 14 categories.
Cubitron II represents a radical advance in cutting and grinding processes. It combines several of 3M's core technology platforms to create precision-shaped, uniformly-sized ceramic-based oxide triangles that are oriented with their cutting edges facing the work surface. The result is faster and higher quality performance, together with ergonomic and safety benefits, and a reduction in the need for abrasive waste disposal.
Robert Cowan, manufacturing technology manager for 3M Abrasive Systems Division, accepted the award in the company's behalf and thanked the Foundation, noting that "3M is honored by the recognition and very pleased that its technology is contributing to a safer and more productive environment in this important sector of manufacturing."
Cowan said that industrial metal fabricators using Cubitron II-based products are reporting productivity gains in ranges of up to 100 percent or more, and he underscored the fact that those products decrease friction and result in a cooler workpiece temperatures. "This helps to eliminate burnishing, oxidation and discoloring, while producing fewer heat-related stress cracks in high-cost end parts, including implantable medical orthopedic devices."
3M has 16 pending patents with the United States Patents and Trademark Office on its Cubitron II technology. R&D Magazine recently recognized this technology with its R&D 100 Award, recognizing it as one of the most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace. Also in 2010, the Minnesota High Tech Association named Cubitron II technology a winner of a Tekne Award for innovative development in the advanced manufacturing category.
The TechAmerica Foundation, launched in 1981, is an affiliate of TechAmerica, an advocacy and resource organization for America's technology industries. TechAmerica was formed by a merger of the American Electronics Association, the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, the Information Technology Association of America, and the Government Electronics & Information Technology Association.