Advanced manufacturing center opens in Prince George - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Advanced manufacturing center opens in Prince George, features "plasma gun"


Companies manufacturing advanced parts for submarines, jet engines, and cameras opened a new manufacturing research center in Prince George this week, a facility where students from across Virginia will also train to work for billion dollar companies.

The new Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) is a partnership between 16 global companies, as well as Virginia Tech, VSU and UVA. The Center's mission is to build mechanical parts that are more efficient, and to find ways to build the parts faster.

"We take research topics that start in the lab, and bridge the gap to full scale production," said Jim Whitton, CCAM Director of Operations. "This provides research and development in Prince George County, with local universities, with multi-billion dollar companies that do business all over the world."

The facility features equipment like a "plasma gun," operating at temperatures as hot as the surface of the sun. The mechanical device is used to apply ceramic or metallic coatings to industrial parts, making the components more aerodynamic or heat resistant.

"You have essentially a torch, but it's a torch on steroids... It is a plasma gun," said Whitton during a tour of the facility Friday.

CCAM project scenarios could involve developing components for aircraft carriers more resistant to salt-water corrosion, or parts for Canon photocopiers with improved resistance to wear and tear.

Organizing partnership members include Newport News Shipbuilding, Siemens, Rolls Royce, Canon and Chromalloy. Virginia students who have developed research projects at their universities also work at CCAM to apply their findings with the multi-national companies.

The new CCAM building is 62,000 square feet, located next to Prince George's Rolls'Royce jet engine components plant.

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