The National Tooling & Machining Association (NTMA) recognized Chris Kaiser, president and CEO of Big Kaiser, with the 2016 NTMA Distinguished Service Award at its fall conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. The annual award recognizes an associate member or partner for exceptional support of the association and leadership in manufacturing.

“Chris has demonstrated a tireless commitment to manufacturing advocacy,” says David Tilstone, president of NTMA. “He supports workforce development through the company’s apprenticeship and internship programs, STEM initiatives like National Robotics League, and the Northern Illinois G-CAMP manufacturing partnership. He is a strong supporter of many regional and national NTMA events, as well as international Technology Tours for our members.”

From Zurich, Switzerland, Kaiser moved to the U.S. to attend Babson College near Boston. After graduation, he started his career working for a tooling distributor, calling on machine shops door-to-door. In 1990, he launched Kaiser Precision Tooling in Illinois. Under Kaiser’s leadership, the company has grown to become part of the global Big Daishowa Group, with manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Switzerland, and Japan.;

Thermacore cools NASA’s Earth science satellite observatory

When NASA launched its environmental research satellite in 2015, it carried sensitive Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) instrumentation that used mission-critical cooling components from k Technology, a division of thermal solutions provider Thermacore Inc.

The SMAP mission is designed to help scientists understand the links between Earth’s water, energy, and carbon cycles. Functioning as an Earth observatory in space, the satellite improves the ability of weather forecasters and climate scientists to monitor and predict floods, landslides, and droughts. SMAP soil moisture data are used by agricultural and water resource managers to develop water and climate models.

Throughout the SMAP mission, internal heat generated by the satellite’s electronics must continually be rejected into the cold vacuum of outer space. Thermacore’s engineers developed a heat spreader – also known as a doubler – to cool a critical electronics bus panel while staying within weight and size limits.

The doubler uses k-Core annealed pyrolytic graphite (APG) encapsulated within aluminum. The panel sandwiches a 1mm aluminum exterior shell on each side around a 4mm APG core. The advanced APG material reduced weight by 15kg on the 0.7m2 panel.

The hard-anodized plate was finished to support an array of thermal attachment points, thermally and electrically conductive areas, and grounding areas.

k Technology’s fabrication facility performed the graphite machining, composite assembly and machining, plating, and inspection.