June 30, 2020


 CCAM logo building and motto

Dear CCAM Community,

We sincerely hope that you and your family are healthy and safe. The turbulent year was made much worse with the recent killing of George Floyd which has exposed that our nation stills suffers from systemic racism that must be addressed. 

I feel compelled to condemn injustice and discrimination and to reaffirm our commitment to live our lives by our values and cultivate a workplace that makes equality, diversity and openness priorities – a workplace that seeks to set an example for the greater community. We are responsible as a team to make sure that this become a reality.

At CCAM, we must respect diversity in all forms: cultural, racial, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation and age to name a few, I want you to know, without a quiver of doubt, that diversity is and will be protected & honored in our workplace.

We also want to welcome the news of Virginia-based Phlow Corporation, tapped to receive $354 million in federal dollars, to boost U.S. manufacturing of medicines needed to treat the coronavirus as it seeks to reduce the country's reliance on drugs and pharmaceutical ingredients made and imported from overseas. As our members are from all over the globe, we are committed to helping our neighbors in the Commonwealth as well.

Companies with businesses in the Commonwealth of Virginia are now encouraged to contact us with their advanced manufacturing research needs. Individual projects on the following capabilities will be accepted:

·       Digital and Intelligent Factory

·       Machining Science & Technology

·       Industrial Digital Integration

·       Industrial Robotics

·       Virtual Factory

·       Sensing, Vision, and Measurement

·       Thermal Spray

·       Virtual Factory

We know we are stronger together, and CCAM continues to strive to meet the needs of our members and our community.



William Powers
CCAM President & CEO


CCAM Members Team Together to Help Prepare NASA Astronaut's for Space Travel


 The saying ‘measure twice, cut once’ takes on a whole new meaning when talking about a 300-pound metal plate being machined down to a 35-pound spacesuit part.

Researchers and technicians at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia are working on the intricately machined and welded backplate of the new Portable Life Support System (PLSS) for the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) spacesuit, led by NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

The backplate starts as one large piece of titanium. After the plate is sized down, a milling machine will be used to cut the cooling channels into the titanium, then cover plates will be welded on using Langley’s electron beam welding equipment and innovative techniques. Finally, the parts will be thoroughly inspected before being delivered. The backplate serves as the “motherboard” of the xEMU life support system, with all of the equipment required to keep an astronaut alive during a spacewalk mounted to the plate which is attached to the back of the spacesuit. 

“We’ll be drawing on the center’s welding and non-destructive evaluation expertise and the machining will be done in-house which offers lower risk,” said Karen Taminger, materials researcher and project lead at Langley. “However, we’re looking at 1/2,000 of an inch precision.”

That means needing the right tools. For additional expertise on the specialized tools needed to machine titanium so precisely, Langley partnered with Virginia’s Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM).

“CCAM partners have a lot of experience with titanium and could respond quickly and efficiently to help develop tools needed for extreme precision,” Taminger said.

One of the CCAM members, Kyocera, offered custom tooling and manufacturing understanding for the precision needed on the angles of the backplate channel cuts. Using the best tools under the right parameters is important, dull tools can lead to debris or loss of precision in the geometry of the cuts.

“We’ve developed tools using the highest quality standards but working on something mission-critical has made us look at it a different way,” said Jason Wells, president of Kyocera SGS Tech Hub. “All it takes is one little piece to impact the larger puzzle.”

Using the knowledge gained through the partnership with CCAM, technicians will machine the plates down, cut the cooling channels in and weld the covers. Welding with the right amount of power and completing the welds in the right order is just as delicate an operation as cutting the cooling channels.

Full Article

The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute features Siemens and CCAM



The ARM funded project is titled: Automation of Manufacturing Defects Correction using Robots. The team consisting of Siemens, CCAM and Yaskawa Motoman is working to develop and demonstrate an automated finishing process consisting of a robot-based scanning system and robot-based corrective system.

Manufacturing processes yield parts with imperfections that require correcting and finishing steps. The needed finishing tasks are typically completed manually and are often both time-consuming and costly with human operators working in ergonomically challenging positions in dusty, noisy conditions. The manual operations also suffer from inconsistent results.

Additionally, the operations require a specific skillset that is becoming increasingly difficult to find. An automated solution would help to augment this workforce gap and free up the skilled human operators to work on higher value tasks.

This project team is working to develop and demonstrate an automated finishing process consisting of a robot-based scanning system and robot-based corrective system. The team is developing the process based on a use case from Siemens Energy, with the project demonstration centering on finishing a rotor compressor derived from a heavy duty gas turbine. In this case, surface imperfections and burrs are formed on edges and the current manual corrective process is lengthy, tedious, and completed in unsafe conditions (high vibrations, noisy, dusty, and ergonomically unfriendly positions) while yielding inconsistent results.

In March, this project team reached the 75% completion mark. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the project team has been able to continue work on setting up, aligning, and testing the robotic cell safely at the CCAM facility (pictured). Once completed, CCAM with virtual assistance from Siemens will begin to integrate and perform experimental testing in preparation for a final demonstration. In accordance with social distancing, the project team plans to conduct the final demonstration and presentation entirely online.

Full Article



 Intelligent Flexible Manufacturing Cell Update

CCAM received funding from the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) to develop an Intelligent Flexible Manufacturing Cell, in 2019. Today, CCAM is pleased to announce Simplimatic Automation has joined HURCO, Mitutoyo, and Cisco as a partner on the testbed project.

Simplimatic Automation, headquartered in Forest, Virginia, develops smart and simple solutions that help solve the complex challenges faced in modern manufacturing. Simplimatic Automation offers conveyor systems, robotics, and custom factory automation to a variety of manufacturing, assembly, and packaging operations worldwide. 

The Intelligent Flexible Manufacturing Cell concept is being built to advance communications standards for manufacturing cells. Simplimatic Automation will support the project by providing robotic materials movement equipment, enclosure fabrications, related software, and integration services.

Milestones, on this three year project, are regularly updated on the CCAM website


CCAM Welcomes More Talent


Timothy Abraham joined CCAM as Associate Software Developer. He was previously a Project Engineer at Wipro Limited working for Capital as a Software Engineer. There he built a crowd sourcing web application that integrated information across multiple legacy data platforms and won Capital One’s TechXellence award for this work. He was also a Business Systems Analyst with Empyrean Benefit Solutions. Timothy earned his B.S. in Computer Engineering at University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Jack Chu joined CCAM as a Vision Systems Intern mentored by adaptive automation engineer, Dr. Huda Al-Ghaib in winter of 2020. He has experience working with microcontrollers, embedded systems, complex data structures, machine learning, and circuits and programming in multiple languages. Jack is currently a Vision Software Associate Engineer at CCAM. He received his B.S in Computer Engineering at VT.

Richard Blanchette joins the Intelligent Factory team as an Intelligent Factory Systems Research Engineer. Richard was previously with Hartfiel Automation as a Motion Application Engineer and Controls Specialist. Prior to that he had roles at Robinson Engineering and Cross Company Motion Solutions Division as an Electro-Mechanical Motion Application Engineer. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Mechanical Systems/Design from Old Dominion University. You can learn more about his projects and programming experience at www.rsbengineering.dev


Meet Our CCAM Interns and Graduate Research Assistants


Full Article


Old Dominion University and CCAM publish Robotics Curriculum with the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)


The robotics curriculum garnered local support from the Crater Planning District, Altria, Amsted Rail, GENEDGE, Prince George County Supervisors, Aerotek, Richard Bland College of William and Mary, Southside Virginia Community College, and John Tyler Community College. CCAM's Betsey Odell, lead this ARM workforce project.

Full Article



Rollys-Royce Crosspointe and CCAM Employees Volunteer to 3D Print PPE

Volunteers from CCAM and Rolls-Royce

Crosspointe teamed together to help 3D print plastic face shield material to donate to University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University hospitals. 500 have been delivered to date.


CCAM is seeking the best engineers to support research in adaptive automation, surface engineering, additive manufacturing, and machining technologies.

Available CCAM Careers




Member Testimonial

“Through our membership with CCAM, we gain access to high-quality research, advanced manufacturing processes, technical expertise, and above all, a collaborative environment where we can work with our industry and university partners to support our current and future products."

Amanda Simpson
Vice President, Research & Technology
Airbus Americas


Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM)

804-722-3700 | CCAM@CCAM-VA.com | CCAM-VA.com