The University of Texas at Austin has grown its Center for Electromechanics into a world class center for modeling, analyzing, designing, and fabricating advanced electrical power generation and distribution systems. The Center staff includes researchers recognized as world leaders in the development of advanced energy storage and power generation rotating machines for both intermittent and continuous duty applications. These capabilities are supported by a dedicated laboratory and fabrication facilities unmatched by any university research facility in the United States.
The laboratory, houses extensive fabrication, assembly, and testing facilities in a 140,000 square ft air conditioned high bay laboratory. The 70 ft tall high bay features two 25 ton cranes with an additional 25 ton crane servicing a machine shop area. In addition to the main high bay laboratory, an additional 10,000 square ft of air conditioned space is available in 8 satellite labs, along with a 1,200 square ft welding/fabrication shop.
Main high bay: Contains a granite surface plate for dimensional inspections. A 500 ton hydraulic assembly press
Machine and Fabrication Shop
The Center uses a distributed manufacturing approach to fabrication. Novel machines are designed by the research staff and component testing is done to provide the engineering data needed to fabricate these first-of-a-kind machines. Components that can be fabricated using conventional industrial practices are fabricated by experienced suppliers. When materials or other factors beyond current industrial practice are required, the Center researchers develop new fabrication processes in-house. If these new processes are needed routinely, they are transferred to competent industrial suppliers. In this way, the researchers remain focused on novel systems, but the results of the earlier work are available to others through a competent base of industrial suppliers.
Typically, final fabrication and testing is done in the Center facilities. When there is a high likelihood that subsequent similar machines will be needed, the Center teams with a manufacturer who participates in the assembly and test activities. This is an effective way to transfer the technology to an industrial supplier.
Machine Shop: In the foreground is a HAAS Model VF7CNC machining center and the tool crib window is visible at the right center edge of the picture. The main machine shop door is visible in the background, along with the entrance, to the right, to the auxiliary machine shop area seen below
The Center’s machining capabilities were updated in 2003 with the installation of several new machine tools, including lathes, manual mills, and a horizontal band saw. Important additions to the machine shop include a HAAS Model VF7 CNC machining center that provides fully programmable 4-axis machining and a Hurco machining center.
In the Machine Shop, the HAAS (left) and HURCO (right) Machining Centers provides fully programmable 4-axis machining.
The machine shop is also supported by a fully stocked tool crib, including measuring and inspection tools under NIST traceable calibrations. Although the Center does not have an on-site Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM), one is available at The University of Texas at Austin Applied Research Laboratories, also located at the Pickle Research Campus. Below is a list of the machine tools available in the Center’s Machine Shop.
UT-CEM Machine Shop Equipment List
In addition to the extensive machining capabilities, the Center also maintains a welding and fabrication shop. The welding shop features a 2-axis programmable Ingersoll Rand/ESAB Autopath GX 60,000 psi abrasive waterjet cutting system capable of cutting metals, ceramics, and composite materials without introducing significant heat into the part. An ESAB 2-axis combination oxy-acetylene and plasma cutter is also located in the welding shop, along with both metal/inert gas (MIG) and tungsten/inert gas (TIG) welding machines.