RTI’s Niles facility wins award for innovative method
By Kristen Russo
RTI International Metals’ Niles facility was one of nine Northeast Ohio businesses honored last week during the 2011 NorTech Innovation Awards.
The awards ceremony, which started in 2000, highlights innovative companies in Northeast Ohio, said Rebecca Bagley, president and CEO of NorTech, a nonprofit that focuses on technology-based economic development in the region.
This year’s ceremony was Thursday at LaCentre Conference and Banquet Facility in Westlake.
For the past three years, NorTech has partnered with Crain’s Cleveland Business to present and promote the awards, which are decided by a panel of nine judges who evaluate companies from five technological industries.
Those industries include advanced energy, advanced materials, biosciences, flexible electronics and instrumentation, controls and electronics, according to a press release.
“The idea is to recognize Northeast Ohio companies that have helped the economy grow through breakthrough innovation,” Bagley said.
RTI received the award for its method of making titanium ingots through continuous casting. This method reduces energy consumption by 67 percent, cuts processing time by 80 percent, reduces total production costs by 30 percent and increases productivity by 150 percent over other methods for making titanium ingots, RTI officials said in the press release.
“It gives us a great feeling of accomplishment that this breakthrough technology has been recognized,” said Michael Jacques, manager of melt-process development at RTI Titanium.
For competitive reasons, Jacques declined to give details of the process.
RTI International Metals Inc. produces and distributes titanium products and has 20 locations worldwide including the one in Niles and three in Canton, according to its website.
The Niles facility employs about 850 workers, Jacques said. It was dedicated in 1953.
Other award recipients were Aeroclay Inc. of Cleveland, AllTech Medical Systems America Inc. of Solon, Ashlawn Energy LLC of Painesville, Echogen Power Systems Inc. of Akron, Kent Displays Inc. of Kent, MAR Systems Inc. of Cleveland, the University of Akron and VasoStar Inc. of Mentor.
NorTech serves these 21 counties in Northeast Ohio: Ashland, Ashtabula, Carroll, Columbiana, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Holmes, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas and Wayne.