We’ve heard the phrase “living in unprecedented time” so often lately that it has become a cliché. That does not make it any less true, and for the Instrument Design & Fabrication Core Facility here at ASU, the effects of the public health pandemic are unprecedented, specifically in how we are able to redirect our facilities priorities to support requests that we do not typically see.
When the emergency was declared, the Instrument Design & Fabrication shops did not close as we redirected our efforts to utilize our services as our first responsibility was for research support and doing so safely for all involved. In our commitment to offer these vital services we quickly responded to the requests to design and build a mobile, free standing test cell to protect the staff collecting samples. We also assembled and installed clear safety shields in many of the common check-in areas throughout several campus buildings at the Skysong, Tempe and ASU Research Park locations along with manufacturing and assembling several test tube racks to hold the hundreds of samples being processed in the ASU Biodesign Institute under the direction of Joshua Labaer.
Several projects the IDF facility has been involved in supporting have recently made some strong milestones in spite of the recent challenges that everyone has faced. Some examples of these projects include a project that Eric Escoto has been working on for the National Science Foundation Engineering Center under the direction of Edward Kavazanjian called the “LORIS.” This is a rain simulator that is 40 foot long, 8 foot wide, and a 25-ton bed of soil that can tilt up to a 45° angle used to evaluate a soil test bed. Other projects include a carbon dioxide capture unit that the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions. The IDF manufactured the three panel frames that hold the material for the air capture of carbon dioxide. Skysong Innovations license of Dr. Klaus Lackner’s carbon capture technology just recently received a $13 million dollar commitment and will provide $1.5 million in sponsored research at ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emission.
We are excited about the recent rocket launch on July 14, 2020 for the Emirates Mars Mission as another project the IDF was able to support by manufacturing components for the Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer (EMIRS). This project along with the involvement the IDF was able to support for the OSIRIS-REx mission shows the level of dedication the IDF staff has towards supporting our industry partners such as NASA and other along with ASU researchers working towards a better future for the community.
Starting this fall the Instrument Design & Fabrication machine shop will be rolling out some new capabilities that include 5-axis manufacturing and the ability to safely manufacture laminated composite materials for all ASU research, peer institutions and industry partners. These efforts define the importance of our role and how we are working to advance the Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise. The added capability of the 5-axis machining and the ability to machine laminated composites is a remarkable addition to the center. The IDF team is eager to assist with the research community using these new capabilities. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.