AM Offers Manufacturing a Shiny Future
Jeffrey Heimgartner posted on April 16, 2018 |

While the Industrial Revolution—or is it Revolutions?—thrust the world full force into the future, it wasn’t exactly a clean ride. Manufacturing facilities were dirty, and the people working in them were covered in the grime of production. More than a century later, the manufacturing world looks completely different.

Unfortunately, getting new generations of employees to look past the smog-producing factories of the past can be a difficult task. According to a study by the Manufacturing Institute, approximately 2 million of the nearly 3.5 million potential manufacturing jobs needed in the next decade will likely go unfilled. Luckily, manufacturing has bright, shiny technology on its side, with the burgeoning metal additive manufacturing (AM) realm. According to the Wohlers Report 2018, there was an 80 percent increase in the sale of metal AM systems in 2017 compared to 2016.

Bringing this technology to the future workforce was recently accomplished through a collaboration by Ohio State University’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) with Proto Precision Manufacturing Solutions and GE Additive, which provided the school’s AM lab with industrial metal printers.

“Partnering with GE Additive and CDME allows us to come together to accelerate the growth in the central Ohio additive ecosystem, empowering us to meet the needs of a growing customer base,” said Sugu Suguness, OSU alum and Proto Precision president. “Industry demands are trending toward titanium implants for medical and lightweight metal parts, and quicker production for automobile and aerospace.”

CDME received two GE Additive machines—part of its latest product portfolio—purchased by Proto Precision. The industrial-grade Arcam Q10+ prints titanium, which can be used for medical and aerospace parts, and a Concept Laser printer that can print titanium and nickel alloys for parts typically used in the automotive and aerospace industries. These additions pair well with CDME’s recently acquired ExOne printer, which uses a binder jetting interface with metal powder.

From left, John Johnson, Proto Precision; Ed Herderick, CDME; Sugu Suguness, Proto Precision; and engineering student Jordan Potts discuss the center’s first nickel alloy print from the Concept Laser metal printer. (Image courtesy of Ohio State University, College of Engineering.)
From left, John Johnson, Proto Precision; Ed Herderick, CDME; Sugu Suguness, Proto Precision; and engineering student Jordan Potts discuss the center’s first nickel alloy print from the Concept Laser metal printer. (Image courtesy of Ohio State University, College of Engineering.)

CDME’s goal to be a leader in innovative applied research for product design, technology commercialization and manufacturing for industry provides a great opportunity for those already in the industry and those entering the industry to come together to change the manufacturing world.

“At CDME, we bring together industry with our world-leading research enterprise,” said College of Engineering Dean David B. Williams. “Uniting an innovative small business like Proto Precision with GE Additive and Ohio State faculty, staff and students is a perfect example of our work to address the biggest challenges in manufacturing.”

To learn more about gaining future generations of manufacturers, check out Social Media Brings Millennials to Manufacturing and How Can Manufacturers Attract More Millennials? Spend More Money.


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