The Ohio State University’s relationship with Abrasive Technology (AT), a global manufacturer of superabrasive products headquartered in Lewis Center, Ohio, has grown significantly over the last two years as a result of viewing AT’s needs from a ”One University” perspective.  Today, the partnership integrates multiple departments within the Colleges of Engineering, Dentistry, Business, and Arts & Sciences.  Key catalysts to the formation of this alliance include the insights and actions of OSU alumnus, Josh Dudley, AT Research Development & Engineering, and the ”holistic“ relationship management focus of The Ohio State University Industry Liaison Office (ILO).

Early collaboration with AT focused within the Center for Automotive Research (CAR).  Abrasive Technology was introduced to CAR in 2010, when Dudley, who had previously participated on the student-led CAR Formula SAE motor sports team, encouraged AT to help refine and then manufacture a component needed for the current Formula SAE team’s experimental vehicle drive train.  David Emerling, Industry Collaboration Director for CAR, was the key Ohio State contact.  A next step in the relationship was to explore collaborative project opportunities between the two entities.  To support these collaboration discussions the team expanded to include AT’s  Eric Sagun, and the Ohio State College of Engineering ILO team of Director Dan Kramer and Associate Director Bobbi Noe.  While a very focused set of 22 possible technical collaboration opportunities were developed through these discussions, it also became clear that Ohio State had more to offer AT beyond engineering excellence.

Abrasive Technology is a recognized leader in the manufacture of superabrasive tooling for a variety of applications, but its first product was actually not an industrial wheel or tool, but rather a dental bur.  Given the continued importance of the dental market to the company, making the connection to the College of Dentistry was a logical and important next step for the ILO.

“Through the developing AT relationship, we found out that AT was not learning about the dental market through dentists or their patients; they were primarily getting market intelligence from their direct customer, the distributor, who is one layer removed from the dentist,”  Noe said.  Recognizing, Ohio State’s expertise and clinical capabilities within the College of Dentistry opened up many possibilities for easily tapping into dentists and their patient / end-customers directly.

With the expanded view, the collection of emerging cross-discipline opportunities prompted the ILO team to take a fresh look at the work done to date and to gain a deeper understanding of AT’s goals and needs from the partnership.  A series of conversations occurred with AT’s leadership team and AT facility tours where taken leading to insights into their business plan, pain points, and opportunity areas.

“With these new insights, recommendations for growing the partnership included elements to obtain  a deeper knowledge of the end-use customer (dentist and patient); enhancing AT’s rich culture of innovation with Ohio State’s expertise in product and process development; and increasing AT’s brand identity across the campus with both faculty and students,” said Noe.  All were well received and as a result, several collaborative initiatives are moving forward today.  Of particular note:

  • A capstone project comprised of a multidiscipline team of Ohio State representatives from design, business, dentistry, and engineering that have been brought together to work with AT to deliver a product concept and business plan that will bring differentiated value based on a customer-driven need.
  • A co-located internship to focus on additive manufacturing and 3-D printing technology.  (Co-located internships provide a means for the intern to “reach-back” into Ohio State for faculty guidance and access to labs and equipment.)

Other facets of the AT relationship continue to expand and are going well, according to Emerling.  “The CAR Formula SAE team vehicle that AT helped to build will be in competition throughout this year, having performed well on a test track in Germany.”  In spring 2012, AT hosted an interactive information seminar for the student led Material Science Engineering Club that was well received and has encouraged the team to want to become more involved.  AT is leveraging Ohio State’s expertise in CAR and the Ohio Manufacturer’s Institute regarding materials insights. Most recently AT has reached out to the Integrated Systems Engineering Department to explore internships in the area of plant efficiency.

“Building a strong strategic relationship between industry and the university is a process that takes time, energy, trust, and a little patience,” says Noe.  “The partnership between AT and Ohio State is well on its way; and is deeper and richer as a result of the efforts by all working together.”


Abrasive Technology                      http://www.abrasive-tech.com/

Industry Liaison Office (ILO at OSU)         http://ilo.osu.edu/

The Ohio State University            http://www.osu.edu



Abrasive Technology is a worldwide leader in the development, manufacturing and marketing of superabrasive grinding wheels and tools for a wide variety of medical, dental, electronics, industrial, aerospace, lapidary, and consumer applications. Founded in 1971, the Company has manufacturing facilities located in the United States, Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom and Spain; and sales offices in Singapore and Poland.  For more than four decades, Abrasive Technology has been recognized as the world’s leading manufacturer of super-abrasive grinding wheels and tools. This reputation began with the revolutionary P.B.S® process, a diamond bonding process that is used for machining tough-to-cut, non-metallic materials like fiberglass, carbon fiber composites and Kevlar® brand aramid fiber. Abrasive Technology’s latest patented process, VFlex™ Technology, is a solution that consistently produces uniform resin bond diamond and CBN (cubic boron nitride) wheels up to 12 inches wide in one piece. The company’s ingenuity and craftsmanship have helped thousands of customers across multiple industries with their diamond and CBN (cubic boron nitride) abrasive tooling requirements.

The Industry Liaison Office (ILO) was launched in December 2008 to found and foster mutually beneficial relationships with industry and organizations worldwide by brokering the alignment of Ohio State’s core capabilities in learning, discovery and innovation, and services with industry needs; creating dynamic and sustainable assets for our partners, State of Ohio and the global community. The ILO links the university’s immense assets to the needs of industry to drive ideas for research, new products, improved processes, and an expansion of services offered. Ohio State has achieved world-class status in such areas of research as advanced materials, electromagnetics, medical imaging, cancer diagnosis and therapeutics, infectious and cardiovascular diseases, veterinary medicine, environmental sciences, and agbioproducts.

Category : General Information