CCAT establishes industry award

East Hartford, CT--The organizers of the Symposium for Advanced Laser Applications (SALA), the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. (CCAT) are pleased to announce the establishment of the CCAT Innovation Award for Laser Applications in Manufacturing Operations. This award will be given annually to the individuals who have made outstanding career-long contributions of industrial laser applications in manufacturing operations. The award consists of an honorarium and a plaque citing the contributions made by the recipient. The award is made at the annual SALA event, which this year will be held on April 14-15.

The inaugural award will be presented to the person who best exemplifies the objectives of the award, Conrad M. Banas. Connie, as he is better known internationally, retired as Chief Scientist from the Industrial Laser Division of United Technologies Corporation (UTC) after a stellar 40 year career. After obtaining a BSME from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1953 he began his career at UCT (then United Aircraft Corp.) doing experimental investigations of aerodynamic and thermal problems associated with fixed wing, helicopter, hypersonic aircraft and reentry vehicles. His career in laser technology started in 1963 and in 1964 he used a pulsed Nd:Glass laser to drill the first holes in jet engine alloys. In the ensuing 25 years he established himself as an international leader in industrial applications of high-power lasers.

- In 1970 he generated the first deep-penetration laser welds.
- He evaluated laser cutting of rock for tunneling applications in 1972. for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- He developed processes for near-net shape, controlled microstructure component fabrication from metal powder in 1975.
- Also in 1975 he was responsible for the Laserglaze process for generating amorphous metal.
- In 1976 he led the team that developed the first multi-kilowatt industrial application- laser welding of lead acid batteries for Western Electric.
- For General Motors and Chrysler he led the process development team for laser welding of air conditioning and transmission components, with more than two dozen units delivered.
- He was involved in weld process development for the now famous Ford underbody laser welding project in 1976.
- His work for Pratt & Whitney on jet engine combustor liner welding and drilling cutting resulted in more than 100 million holes being drilled at a savings of $50 million.
- Innovative work on laser hardfacing resulted in extending the service life of two million engine components.
- He developed the dual spot welding process to counter laser weld surface instability at high wielding speeds.
- For the U.S. Navy he demonstrated single pass laser welds in 1 ½ inch thick ship steel at 10 feet per minute.
- He was also first in exploring laser welding with hot and cold wire addition, this work being unique.

These and many other industrial laser applications that were developed for manufacturing operations attests to the success of his pioneering approach to reduction of basic technology to cost and quality effective applications on the factory floor..

Professionally Connie is a recipient of several prestigious honors - the LIA ‘s Schawlow Award in 1997 for pioneering accomplishments in laser material processing and the AWS Comfort Adams Award for contributor to the art of welding, to cite two. In addition to his BS degree he was awarded Masters in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Physics, both from the University of Connecticut.

CCAT's selection of Connie Banas as the first recipient of their Innovation Award sets the standard for all future awardees as he benchmarks the goals which are the transition of industrial laser materials processing technology into industry.

For additional information on SALA contact Bob Murray at 

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