MAG Industrial Automation Systems won 15 U.S. and European patents in 2009, covering new manufacturing technologies for alternative energy, aerospace and automotive components. The company's new HyperMach aerospace profiler, alone, received three patents, with two more pending. MAG also received two international awards in 2009 for new composites processing technologies, one involving a method for making hydrogen fuel tanks for automobiles.

MAG focuses its R&D on new manufacturing science for products, such as thin-film solar panels, lightweight composite automobiles, new solar windows and wind energy components. "While the public thinks of industrial automation as machines, fluids and tools, we have teams working at the scientific end of the business, developing advanced processes that customers want today, as well as working on ideas for manufacturing products our customers may only be dreaming about," says Richard Curless, chief technology officer of MAG Americas.

As examples, Curless cites a recently completed project with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences to mathematically enhance the accuracy of large 5-axis machine tools. The Volumetric Error Compensation system received a Defense Manufacturing Excellence Award from the National Center for Advanced Technologies (NCAT) in 2009. A Boeing team member called it a “groundbreaking process” that will dramatically reduce assembly costs – $100 million a year on large programs like the F-18 or 700 aircraft series.

According to Curless, MAG produces 30-50 patent applications per year.