Advanced Casting Research Center Relocates to UCI

ACRC conducts collaborative research benefiting the global metal processing industry

August 12, 2020 - The Advanced Casting Research Center (ACRC) relocated to UC Irvine effective July 1, 2020. Formerly, ACRC was at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts.

ACRC’s founding director, Diran Apelian, is a Distinguished Professor in the UCI Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He retired from his position as Alcoa-Howmet Professor of mechanical engineering at WPI after 30 years, earlier this summer. Apelian is widely recognized for his innovative work in metal processing and for his leadership as a researcher and educator. His research has helped establish mechanisms and fundamentals in metal processing and helped lay the foundations for significant industrial developments. More recently, his work in the development of technologies to recover and recycle materials has become critically important for a sustainable future. Apelian is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Inventors, European Academy of Sciences, and the Armenian Academy of Sciences. He has received numerous honors and awards, has over 700 publications and serves on several technical, corporate and editorial boards. 

ACRC’s board of directors voted unanimously to relocate the headquarters of the consortium to UCI. The collaborative, under Apelian’s direction, will continue its work bringing fundamental understanding to existing processes, develop new methods, and address management-technology interface issues with industrial partners.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be a part of the metal casting industry, even though the demands on the business have never been greater,” said Randy Beals of MAGMA, chair of the ACRC Board of Directors. “Customer expectations of higher quality are at an all-time high while simultaneously, there is pressure to reduce cost. An important result of the market forces taking shape is an increased focus within the casting industry on R&D knowledge generation. The new UCI ACRC research programs serve as an engine of innovation in order to achieve these business goals. It is the collaboration between the brightest minds in industry and academia that allows the ACRC consortium to have breakthrough ideas and develop cutting edge technology that will have a lasting impact on the metal casting community.”

ACRC provides a collaborative environment in which members, faculty, and students discuss challenges in the metal casting and manufacturing industry, specifically in two main domains: alloy development and novel processes. ACRC was founded in 1985 with a small group of companies to advance the use of light metals. Over the years, ACRC has grown to be one of the larger industry-university alliances in North America and has been an exemplar for carrying out fundamental research with clear industrial applications. To date, ACRC consists of 35 corporate members.  With ACRC now headquartered in Southern California, ACRC will expand the consortium to meet the needs of manufacturing industries on the West Coast - aerospace and Department of Defense. 

UCI is building a state-of-the-art metal processing facility, which includes a modern foundry (ferrous and non-ferrous), vacuum arc melting, atomization unit, a complete Buehler Center for metallography, an Olympus microscopy suite and mechanical testing facilities.

According to Dave Weiss of Eck Industries, director-at-large of the ACRC consortium, “The members of the consortium are delighted to have access to some of the most advanced casting and characterization infrastructure of any university. These tools will speed alloy discovery and process innovations for the casting industry. The ACRC will be part of the UCI Institute for Design and Manufacturing Innovation in the Samueli School of Engineering, which will include research into additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence for manufacturing, big data and other industry 4.0 topics, all critical for advanced cast metal products.” Learn more about ACRC at http://acrc.manufacturing.uci.edu/

– Victoria Birk Hill

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