Wichita State News

Wichita State/K-State partnership nets royalty-bearing license

Monday, February 28, 2011

An invention by Dwight Burford, director of the Advanced Joining and Processing Laboratory at Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research, has resulted in the first royalty-bearing license for WSU.

An exclusive worldwide license was signed with Manufacturing Technology Inc. (MTI) for a device called the end effector in which royalties are received by WSU based on the technology’s success in the marketplace.

David McDonald
David McDonald
“This is the first time that we have commercially licensed a technology in WSU’s patent portfolio,” said David McDonald, associate provost for research at Wichita State. “Half of the net revenue from the license directly benefits the researcher. The other half is used by the university to provide grants to help other researchers with their projects.”

The end effector is specially designed using friction stir welding (FSW) principles and can be used with robots, machining centers and purpose-built FSW equipment to produce lap joints in a single, automated procedure.

Friction stir welding offers numerous benefits in joining metals and thermoplastics, including minimizing or eliminating defects typically encountered in fusion welding. It has the potential to benefit any industry that has a need to join metal on metal, such as aviation and automotive.

“It’s a greener technology,” said McDonald. “It’s a game changer. It’s so much better than what’s currently available.”

Helping Wichita State to commercialize and license the invention was Kansas State University’s National Institute of Strategic Technology Acquisition and Commercialization (NISTAC).

"Collaboration among the state's universities is critical to the success of higher education in Kansas," said Kirk Schulz, K-State president. "By working together, Kansas colleges and universities can make the most of what resources we have. As K-State strives to become a top 50 public research university, we look forward to sharing our strengths with our neighbors in higher education."

Donald Beggs
Don Beggs
Wichita State President Don Beggs said, “This is an example of how Regents institutions can work together to make valuable use of the resources we have.”

"This has been a great deal that helped both K-State and WSU," said Kent Glasscock, president of NISTAC. "They have been able to take advantage of the experience we have in getting university research into the global marketplace where technology's potential to help people and companies can be fully realized."

McDonald acknowledges that working with K-State’s NISTAC enables Wichita State to more effectively commercialize intellectual property.

“K-State’s NISTAC has incentive and expertise to push this out into the marketplace and for our faculty researcher’s benefit,” said McDonald. “It gives us a capability that we don’t have in place on campus. We’re taking our first baby steps.”

MTI is headquartered in South Bend, Ind., and is a fourth-generation, multinational company specializing in solid state or friction welding solutions. In addition to Friction Stir Welding, MTI offers solutions in linear, rotation friction and resistance welding processes.

MTI’s installed base includes launch systems, aerospace, transportation, automotive, petrochemical, electronics with custom engineered machines. Solutions include various friction machine configurations, design resources, research and development, and contract welding services based on customer needs. MTI’s professional team expands conventional manufacturing processes in metals joining, automation and services to satisfy the customer’s joining challenges.

If you have questions, wish to discuss your manufacturing challenges or explore opportunities provided by FSW, visit the company website www.mtiwelding.com or contact Bill Johnson, FSW sales manager, at (574) 233-9490, ext. 210 or e-mail Johnson at johnson.bill@mtiwelding.com.

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Created on Monday, February 28, 2011; Last modified on Monday, March 14, 2011