CANTON, Ohio, June 5 -- Making use of a $1.4-million grant from the US Dept. of Energy, The Timken Co., in conjunctions with the National Research council of Canada and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has completed the research and development phase of a laser gauging system. The system was designed to provide a more efficient manufacturing process for seamless mechanical steel tubing while reducing energy consumption. According to the company a prototype gauging system will be ready in one of its manufacturing facilities by 2001.The grant was awarded in June of 1999 for the development of the ultrasonic laser technology. Timken was recently awarded the remaining portion of the initial grant to begin prototype development. Now set at $2.6 million, The Dept. of Energy has agreed fund 60 percent of the total project cost. Our technical partners' expertise, combined with our own process knowledge, brought us to a successful completion of phase one of the project, said Raymond V. Fryan, director, process improvement - alloy steel. All technical concepts necessary for the success of this project have been proven true and will be implemented in the prototype gauging system.