This blog was written by Your Skills. Your Future. student ambassadors Lauren Goldston and Bo Bosserdet.
Has anyone ever wondered what power plants use to filter those dirty fossil fuels out of their emissions? Well, on Friday, October 20th, a STEM 2 class from Cleveland High school got the chance to visit and experience the Cormetech facility in celebration of Manufacturing week on October 9th. Cormetech has been deemed as one of the best partners with the Cleveland High school engineering program for more than 10 years. Cormetech has been readily inviting different engineering classes from Cleveland high school as well as other schools to come and tour their experimental laboratory in Cleveland, Tennessee.
Cormetech was formed in 1989 as a joint company with Mitsubishi Heavy industries, Corning Incorporated, and Mitsubishi Petrochemical. Corning incorporated is famous for being a leader in glass and ceramic processing technologies and automotive emission control field. Corning’s ceramic honeycomb substances are used in most automotive catalytic converters used worldwide. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is famous for their heavy machinery manufactures. They have supplied over half of the SCR systems used on industrials and utility boilers and turbines worldwide. Cormetech’s catalyst technologies benefit from both SCR system design and ceramic extrusion technology.
Cormetch leverages its parent companies over 30 years of SCR experience and ceramic extrusion technology. At the end of 2014, Cormetech has supplied operating catalysts worldwide for more than 1,000 SCR systems. Cormetech has fully dedicated state of the art manufacturing facilities. They have testing and manufacturing facilities in Durham, North Carolina, and yours truly, Cleveland, Tennessee.
Cormetech is one of the most technologically advanced catalyst manufacturing companies in the world. They provide great, superior technology with reliable performance at a very low cost to the customers. Innovation will, and forever be a culture at Cormetech. They have also introduced many new products to help the currently produced products become better and to meet the growing needs of their customers.
Prior to the trip, students were given a challenge to make a model assembly line that describes the process in which Cormetech makes their filters. Each group had a section manufacturing process to represent. It needed to be made from VEX robotic parts and needed to be function in some way or another. The Tuesday before the trip, they presented their models to some of the employees to obtain feedback. Afterwards, they had till Friday to make at least one change to improve it or change their model for it to more accurately represent the process. Finally, on the day of the trip, the students presented their final models to lead employees at the facility and obtained expert feedback. Afterwards, they experienced the actual process by taking a tour of the facility. It turned out that the students could represent the process in theory but not mimic it well. The students’ collaborative process includes: mixing, transfer, and then baking. In similar contrast, Cormetech’s process is as follows: mixing, metal bath, baking, cutting, and finally packaging. After touring the floor, the students could ask questions about the process. One of the questions that was asked was how the filters work. The filters are quite simple compared to what anyone would think of. They are made from a ceramic mix and are extruded through a die setter and are then coated in a metallic solution. This is the main part of the process that involves the functionality of the filter. When these filters are placed at the customer’s factory or plant, ammonia is sprayed into the resultant gas. Then the metal on the filters act as a catalyst platform for the gas and ammonia to become water and breathable oxygen. Later, the students talked about what they saw back in their classroom.
Ben Williams, the STEM teacher that went on the trip and helped organized it, describes his thoughts on the collaborative week with Cormetech:
“For National Manufacturer’s week, we had the opportunity to collaborate with Cormetech in Cleveland, Tennessee. We have been able to send students each year to participate in a student internship with this forward-thinking local industry. Our student tours each year have been a source of generating excitement for advanced manufacturing and future positions in engaging local industries. This year’s collaboration, however, was a step beyond what we have done in the past. Students worked in close proximity with engineers and HR representatives at Cormetech to design an automated robotic process that would emulate some of the same features as Cormetech’s own automated assembly process. After their designs were created, CHS students toured Cormetech and presented their automation model work cells and discussed the challenges of their build with real Cormetech engineers. As an instructor, this open technical dialogue between students and experts in a local industry was refreshing to see. Students were even making suggestions to improve their own process for next year’s collaboration on their way out of the facility. We are very excited to work with Cormetech in the future and explore where our collaborative projects may go in time!”