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Odd Government Grant?

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  • Odd Government Grant?

    I saw this in the paper this morning. It's a local MN company getting a federal government grant. It just struck me as odd. Don't we already have this technology and how much energy would we really be saving?

    - T

    Link to the article:

    Main paragraphs:
    Third Wave will get $4.07 million from the Department of Energy and invest another $1.1 million of its own to improve software systems that simulate exactly how expensive manufacturing tools will respond under varying speeds, stress or forces created during product fabrication. Company officials also want their simulation software to help companies gauge the effects of coolants on machinery and products.

    By simulating the manufacturing process before a big test run, the hope is that customers discover where to make adjustments before they flip on any machine. That can prevent tool breakage, overheating and unnecessary energy drains, explained company spokeswoman Kate Burke. The new award will help Third Wave perfect its technology and help manufacturers sooner, she said. "We are pretty pumped. This is the biggest award we have ever received," Burke said
    The Department of Energy's manufacturing initiative is in response to the Obama administration's efforts to invest in cutting-edge technologies that create well-paying jobs, boost U.S. competitiveness and slash the energy needs in U.S. factories.

    "By investing in breakthrough technologies that can drastically reduce the amount of energy consumed during manufacturing, the Energy Department is supporting President Obama's blueprint for an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, and skills for American workers," U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement. "When it comes to clean energy, our motto should be: 'Invented in America, made in America, and sold around the world.'''

  • #2
    As a Manufacturing Engineer, this is what I did for a living
    If you want the epitome of manufacturing technology in this area, go look at Catipillar's manufacturing operations. Good companies know they need to improve to survive. When you make a product in your shop, you know exactly what coolant does and does not do.
    When the government tells you how to make your product, YOU have a problem, and it's more than a grant will fix !

    Read the text of the grant, it's nothing more than a gift to some political crony.
    The Department of Energy is a joke.
    Note the word "clean energy" and apply that to the use of coolant. a stretch ...unless you have political ambitions


    • #3
      I agree, Rich. Having worked under a County Government driven shop for fifteen years, it became quite obvious that you can get a grant for anything and any amount of money if you know how to write a grant proposal.

      We had one Sheriff's Deputy who had a flair for writing. He used to write proposals all of the time. Most of the time, they never questioned him, just sent him the checks. He told me it was all in how convincing you could make the grant proposal sound. I guess they have people in industry who do nothing but write proposals for large corporations. And that's how some of these grants are given.

      Hmmm, maybe I should write a grant proposal to enhance BLFM. (Better Lunches For Me)
      No good deed goes unpunished.


      • #4
        Holy crap! I have to get to work writing a proposal to fully instrument my solar heating I built into my house slab 25 years ago, to replace all those meat thermometers on the pipes. Oh, wait, I never contributed a dime to any political campaign......nevermind.


        • #5
          Write a proposal, put in all the right buzz words, get a multimillion dollar grant.

          And guess where all that money comes from. Our wallets just got slimmer.
          Paul A.
          SE Texas

          Make it fit.
          You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!


          • #6
            Now you see why the Company made political contributions.

            Originally posted by MinnesotaHSM
            ....That can prevent tool breakage, overheating and unnecessary energy drains...

            ..."By investing in breakthrough technologies that can drastically reduce the amount of energy consumed during manufacturing

            I'm sure that they can accomplish these three objectives. I'm sorry I didn't think up the idea. This is the type of program that is easily licence-able to manufacturers and software vendors. Whether it's 1% or 5% reduction in electricity and/or tooling costs over the life of a cnc machine - it's big bucks.


            • #7
              I looked further and found out that the CEO donated $500 to the Democrat Senator candidate up for re-election this fall. He previously donated $1800 in two separate donations to a previous Republican Senator that lost his election in 2008.

              More importantly, what about the merits of the technology that will supposedly be developed/refined by this grant? Doesn't that already exist? Isn't it a stretch to say that we will be saving more energy than the value of the grant?

              The whole premise of the grant smells fishy to me.

              - T


              • #8
                While this thread hasn’t got out of control yet, it clearly fits in the category of political discussion, which isn’t allowed on this site. Plus, we already have plenty of OT posts at the moment!
                Traverse City, MI