Principal investigator: John Coulter

University: Lehigh University

Industry partners: Noortek

Noortek LLC, a Pennsylvania-based company since 2008, has an interest in becoming a manufacturer of advanced extrusion technologies for the plastics manufacturing industry. In this proposed effort, Noortek plans to collaborate with Lehigh to develop an Adaptive Die Assembly technology. This technology involves the incorporation of actively controllable die components that would enable extrusion of products with similar external profiles with controllable wall thickness. This would enable the manufacture of families of products to satisfy different, but related, market segments without the need for costly and time-consuming die changes. The goal is to start a manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania to produce and sell this technology in the form of manufactured sub-systems to all extrusion machine and die suppliers. The initial market of interest would be the construction market for door and window profiles, and accordingly the research will focus on the distinct segments of this sample market throughout the project. The prototype systems to be developed, tested, and validated during the project will enable increased production throughput while minimizing capital expenses, die change-over time, and other associated operational costs. The successful development of this system would add over 25 new high-quality manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania. John Coulter at Lehigh University will partner with Dr. Alsarheed, the principal of Noortek LLC and lead on the project, with a full-time graduate student working as the primary Pennsylvania manufacturing fellow. In addition, two undergraduate students will be involved each semester, and two postdoctoral research scientists will provide additional research support. The project will involve the complete design, analysis, development, testing, and optimization of this new technology.