The entryway into manufacturing and engineering at The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering is the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME), which was developed to meet the translational research needs of the university’s external partners. Originally funded through a federal grant and the College of Engineering, this unique branch of OSU is responsible for connecting area manufacturing companies with the university’s research staff, as well as experiential student learning.
Now, as the result of a new collaboration between area company Proto Precision Manufacturing Solutions and GE Additive, the latest industrial metal 3D printing technology is coming to the CDME’s additive manufacturing laboratory.
“CDME is the place where we bring together industry with our world-leading research enterprise,” said Dr. David B. Williams, Dean of OSU’s College of Engineering. “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.”
According to a LinkedIn article by Ryan Martin, the GE Additive General Manager for Americas Sales, when the combined power of academia, industry, and technology is able to achieve increased innovation and technology shifts, it’s what he refers to as “a perfect trifecta.”
“We often see industry turning to universities for local support and workforce development. But it’s also critical that they partner with a technology solutions provider, one that can grow with them as the ecosystem develops,” Martin wrote. “Proto Precision selected GE Additive to be its source of additive equipment and the three organizations formed the trifecta model.”
GE Additive announced in February that it would begin accepting entries from colleges and K-12 schools for this year’s cycle of its GE Additive Education Program (AEP), and announced the recipients, including OSU, two weeks ago.
OSU engineering alumnus Sugu Suguness is the president of Proto Precision, which is also partnering with OSU now. The company just installed two of its recently purchased GE Additive 3D printers at CDME, which are only the latest additions to the center’s ever-expanding AM capabilities.
Suguness said, “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. Industry demands are trending towards titanium implants for medical, and lightweight metal parts and quicker production for automobile and aerospace.”
The industrial Arcam Q10plus and Concept Laser metal 3D printers are only part of the latest product portfolio out of GE Additive. The Concept Laser machine, often used in the aerospace and automotive industries, can print nickel alloy and titanium parts, while the Arcam 3D printer prints titanium for aerospace parts and medical implants. In fact, one of the reasons Proto Precision chose OSU as the location for its two metal 3D printers is the university’s expertise in medical technology R&D.
In addition to these new 3D printers, CDME’s additive manufacturing laboratory also includes:
- Afinia H400 (ABS, PLA, PC-ABS)
- Afinia H800 (ABS, PLA, PC-ABS)
- ExOne (steels, magnesium alloys, nickel alloys)
- FormLab Form 2 (resin)
- Markforged 2 (nylon, nylon carbon fiber)
- Mcor IRIS HD (paper)
- ProJet 3500 HD Max (ABS-like cured photopolymers)
- ProJet 660Pro (ceramics, including alumina, YSZ)
- Stratasys 3D printer (ABS, PLA, ACA, PC-ABS)
In the meantime, two additional GE Additive 3D printers will continue to operate at Proto Precision’s Hilliard facility.
According to the Wohlers Report 2018, the number of metal 3D printers sold in 2016 (983) increased by nearly 80% in 2017, as an estimated 1,768 systems were sold last year. Manufacturers around the world continue to take advantage of the benefits provided by 3D printing metal parts. In terms of education, Ed Herderick, the Director of Additive Manufacturing at CDME, says that it’s very unique for a single university lab to have the ability to print with binder jetting, electron beam, and laser technologies.
“Now Ohio State faculty has another valuable option in translating their research to prototype and testing modes. And small businesses and manufacturers can quickly integrate high-end metal printing capability into their operation folds by partnering with us,” Herderick explained.
Staff and faculty members will enjoy access to the newly installed metal 3D printers in order to advance their research, while Proto Precision will fulfill their production work as part of the collaboration.
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[Images: CDME, unless otherwise noted]