CNO 2.0 Notes 6/18/21: Allan Crasto, PhD, University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI)

CNO 2.0 Venue and Details

The venue for tonight’s CNO 2.0 meeting was at Poelking Lanes South in Miami Township, Ohio. Thank you to Joe Poelking, the owner of the venue, for donating the VIP Bowling Lounge for our meeting with complimentary bowling.

The next CNO 2.0 meeting will be on July 15, 2021 at 5:30 PM at Heavier than Air Brewery. It is always on the third Thursday of the month at 5:30 PM. All members of any CNO club are invited to these monthly meetings.

There were 22 people at the meeting (16 members and 6 guests).

Announcements

Gail Aiken, Americana 5K run on 7/5/2021, announced that they need help passing out packets days before the event and lots of help for the day of the event.

Gail Aiken also announced that the Haunted Trail community event will return this year and be held on October 12th and 13th and it has been moved to the Washington Township RecPlex (formerly named Rec Center). They need volunteers for trail guides. Each group of 30 participants needs 2 trail guides, one in the front and one in the back.

Tom Novak, Avenue of Flags, announced that we now deliver over 3000 flags on each flag holiday and we can always use more volunteers to help deliver/retrieve flags.

Debe Dockins announced that 144 golfers have signed up for the sold-out Tom Fraizer Tee Off for Youth Golf Classic. They need “day of event” volunteers for lots of tasks on Monday, July 12, 2021. There are jobs for all times of the day including early morning, mid-day and at the end of the day. They are also looking for donations and silent auction items like bottles of wine and gift cards.

Allan Crasto, Ph.D, UDRI

Ron Tinnerman introduced tonight’s speaker, Allan Crasto, Ph.D, the recently retired Executive Director of  University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) and former engineer. He joined UDRI in 1988 and worked there for 32 years.

What is UDRI?

The website for UDRI says, “Research for the Common Good”. They deliver innovative practical science and engineering solutions on budget and on time. They serve government, industry and nonprofit customers.

UDRI was created 65 years ago at UD in partnership with Wright-Patterson  Air Force Base (called Wright Field at the time). UDRI is unique in that it has remained an integral part of the University. All other similar research institutes that were part of universities across the nation have been spun off and are no longer part of their original universities.

UDRI is self-supporting and no tuition money from students are used by UDRI. Engineers are hired for their expertise. Engineers are moved around UDRI to help with projects as their expertise is needed. Engineering talents are internally networked at UDRI. When projects end, they find another project for engineers to use their skills.

Dr. Crasto said UDRI is a great place to work. It is not uncommon to hear about employees that retire after 40 or even 45 years.

Major Research Areas

  • Energy and the environment
  • Aero propulsion
  • Structures
  • Mechanical systems
  • Sensors
  • Human factors
  • Lasers and robotics

Software Research Areas

  • Image recognition
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (aka UAV or Drones) guidance
  • Machine learning

Example Projects and Services

  • They keep old Air Force planes flying. This is very profitable while at the same time saving the U.S. Government money.  Techniques used to extend the life of the aircrafts flying include 3D printing or additive manufacturing of parts, corrosion mitigation and testing of existing materials and their interaction with aged metal.
  • A lot of progress is being made in lithium battery technology.
  • Simulation of the effects of weather from various regions of the world are studied. There is a full sized 2 story home fully contained inside a controlled climate building. They study effects on the home’s systems like HVAC under different conditions.
  • Various experiments are run on a complete supermarket setup they have.
  • All Air Force aircraft must be periodically repainted. UDRI has developed a robotic laser process to remove the old paint while vaporizing it. This is a lot safer than the previous process since a lot of dangerous chemicals go airborne during paint removal. Vaporization greatly reduces what needs to be disposed of as well.
  • The insulated Domino’s Pizza containers used for delivery are made with material developed by UDRI.
  • UDRI has a sustainability training program for Air Force personnel.

UDRI is financially good for the Dayton Region

  • UDRI helped get GE to do research for their jet engines here in Ohio. UDRI worked with the State of Ohio to make this happen.
  • $1.1 Billion in projects are waiting to be completed.
  • 80% of revenue comes from the Air Force.
  • UDRI total revenue so far is over $3 billion.

Patents

Patents often earn UD money. If UDRI receives a patent, then UD owns it and the Air Force gets to use it for free. UD has the right to sell the patent for use in industries outside of the Air Force.

US Government Security Clearances

UDRI employees need security clearances that can take months to obtain to work on many projects. UD students planning on working for UDRI after graduation start the clearance application process before graduation. This makes them immediately productive right after graduation on secure projects much earlier than possible in the past.

Buildings in the Miami Valley Used by UDRI

  • UDRI occupies the previous NCR headquarters. It took 10 years to complete the renovation and move into the building. They converted it from office space to labs. There is 380,000 square feet of useable area in the building. UDRI occupies 300,000 square feet of this space. The total square footage of the building is 550,000 square feet, but areas such as hallways and mechanical rooms are not considered usable space.
  • UDRI has 30,000 square feet of space at the Greene. The rapid sustainment office, a state-of-the-art facility, is located at the Greene.
  • The DESI building on Wilmington Pike has been converted for use by UDRI.

Quick Facts about UDRI

  • They have 740 full time research staff.
  • There were $170 million in sponsored projects in 2020.
  • Project revenues range from $500 to $350,000,000.

Thank You

Thank you, Allan Crasto, Ph.D, for sharing information about UDRI with us this evening.

More Information about UDRI

On 8/25/2020, Pamela Gregg, the Communication Administrator at the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI), spoke to CNO at a weekly lunch meeting. Click to view the article.

Link to Pictures from the Meeting

The photos taken at Today’s Meeting are here.