Engineering Departments

The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing Breaks Ground in Prince George County, Virginia

Propulsion Lab
Disputanta, VA , March 30, 2011
Virginia Tech College of Engineering

Global Manufacturing Leaders Anchor New Research Collaboration with Top Virginia Universities

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and the presidents of the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University today joined with executives from some of the world’s biggest names in manufacturing to officially break ground for the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), a unique collaborative research facility in Prince George County, Virginia, that promises to accelerate the transfer of laboratory innovations to manufacturing production lines where they can improve efficiencies, products and profits.

“With a turn of the dirt today, Virginia is preparing a new foundation for manufacturing in the Commonwealth and in the nation,” said Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. “Global dynamics will always influence where products are made, but CCAM’s collaborative, creative approach to advanced manufacturing techniques gives the Commonwealth a leadership role in determining how the world’s most advanced products are made.”

The groundbreaking puts in motion construction of a 50,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility. Under its roof, best-in-class manufacturers will collaborate with accomplished faculty and students from Virginia’s top research and teaching institutions to perform advanced manufacturing research in two priority areas: surface engineering and manufacturing systems.

When complete next year, the facility will house computational and large-scale production labs, as well as open production space for heavy equipment and surface coating processes, including a thermal spraying machine, a directed vapor deposition machine, integrated data acquisition systems and a thermal conductivity measurements system.

“CCAM is a game changer for manufacturing operations in this country and around the world,” said David Lohr, the newly appointed president and executive director of CCAM. “Its collaborative model joins academic research with manufacturing’s drive for competitive advantage and it promises new, valuable innovations faster than ever before.”

CCAM is the only collaboration of its kind in North America and it promises its member companies significant benefits. By pooling resources to pursue university research authorized by member companies, CCAM increases the value of the R&D dollar. R&D risks and costs are shared by members – away from live production floors – and research results are shared with all members, allowing all members to capitalize on new, breakthrough developments that emerge from CCAM research.

In addition to breaking ground for the research facility, CCAM also announced today the founding companies that will anchor the CCAM facility and its initial research operations. They are:

Canon Virginia - Located in Newport News, Canon Virginia Inc. produces new products using advanced manufacturing methodologies while also serving as a factory service center for repair and refurbishment of Canon cameras, video recorders and office products.

Chromalloy - based in Orangeburg, NY, Chromalloy provides parts, repairs, maintenance and overhauls of gas turbines used in aviation and in land-based applications.

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding - Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding (NGSB), the largest industrial employer in Virginia and Louisiana and largest private employer in Mississippi, designs, builds, overhauls and repairs a wide variety of ships for the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard and world navies.

Rolls-Royce - a global business providing integrated power systems for use on land, at sea and in the air. Rolls-Royce is headquartered in London.

Sandvik Coromant - the world's leading producer of tools for turning, milling and drilling. The company is headquartered in Sandviken, Sweden.

Siemens - a global electronics and electrical engineering firm operating in the industry, energy and healthcare sectors. Siemens’ headquarters is in Munich.

As Organizing Industry Members, these companies will play a significant leadership role in CCAM. Company officials will join representatives from the university organizing members (UVA, VT and VSU) on CCAM’s board of directors to oversee the facility’s development, its research priorities and its outreach to additional prospective member companies, such as AeroJet. The California-based provider of rocket propulsion systems joined CCAM last month.

“By joining CCAM, these companies demonstrate confidence in its ability to transform manufacturing research,” said Lohr. “It will improve products and profits through research – and it will change how global business and industry perceive central Virginia.”

For Prince George County and the Petersburg and Richmond regions, CCAM and its manufacturing members represent a powerful economic development engine that promises to bring additional businesses, new jobs and a global reputation for excellence in advanced manufacturing research. Additionally, next month, Rolls-Royce will begin producing jet engine parts at a new plant just north of CCAM, a development that also promises further economic activity in the region as suppliers and other support businesses start.

Representatives from CCAM’s founding members share their perspectives below on the opportunities and benefits anticipated from their involvement in CCAM:

Takayoshi Hanagata, Chairman, Canon Virginia

“Canon is very excited to be an organizing industry member of CCAM.  This partnership will allow Canon to further its reputation for promoting innovative, creative, and advanced manufacturing techniques.  The opportunity to leverage Virginia’s finest universities in a collaborative environment with other global manufacturing leaders, right here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a unique opportunity.”

Armand F. Lauzon, President and CEO, Chromalloy

What’s great about CCAM is the coming together of manufacturing leaders from around the world to approach shared manufacturing problems with different business and operational perspectives. Working together with university research teams, we anticipate the collaboration at CCAM will generate new ideas and solutions that advance our business.

Peter Diakun, Vice President, Advanced Capabilities Group, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding

“We are very impressed with the success of similarly structured Research Centers located in other countries. These centers have a proven track record of transitioning member driven, new technology to industry. We are also excited with the ability draw on the expertise from other Research Centers and to focus research capabilities at Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia and Virginia State on coating technologies and manufacturing processes that are specific to Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding.”

Brian Warner, Head of CCAM for Rolls-Royce North America

“Rolls-Royce has recognized business benefits through our involvement in similar collaborations around the world, and we’re eagerly anticipating new, production-ready innovations from CCAM.  Working together with like-minded companies and Virginia’s flagship research institutions will yield both process and product improvements, as well as generate new economic momentum for advanced manufacturing research in this region and across the nation.”

John Israelsson, President, Sandvik Coromant USA

“This type of balance between academia, competence development and ‘real world’ issues will add significantly to our portfolio of solutions. Projects developed at CCAM will lead to sensational reductions in processing time for our customers, increase productivity, lower the cost of production and increase output to help maintain their competitiveness. Projects that roll through the center should be easily applicable to the shop floor, thus generating user value.”

Andreas Saar, Vice President, Component Manufacturing Solutions, Siemens

“CCAM offers a wonderful environment that brings together students, educators and industry leaders to explore new concepts and fine tune ideas, which is difficult to do on a working production floor. At CCAM, there is room for innovation to percolate, to drive positive changes and evolve into something special for the benefit of all its manufacturing members. It’s a special environment that we’re thrilled to be part of.”

About the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing

CCAM is a research collaboration between the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia State University and manufacturing companies worldwide. Manufacturers join CCAM as members and guide research with university faculty in two focus areas: surface engineering and manufacturing systems. CCAM is building a 50,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art research facility near Petersburg, Virginia, adjacent to Rolls-Royce’s new jet engine components plant. The facility is expected to open in 2012. For more information, visit


Christian Munson

CRT/tanaka for CCAM

(804) 675-8151