Aug 3, 2016 | By Alec

You don’t need to be an expert to see that 3D printing is slowly finding its way into the hands of designers throughout the world. From prototype airplane parts to hip replacements and implantable organs; 3D printing is appearing everywhere. But for the 3D printing revolution to really pick up steam, a major push or technological breakthrough is needed to make this a truly accessible and affordable large-scale manufacturing option. In an attempt to realize that breakthrough, Carnegie Mellon University has announced a new consortium that brings together major companies, nonprofit institutes and the US government. Together, they will be working to fully unlock the potential of industrial 3D printing.

This ambitious consortium is headquartered in Carnegie Mellon University's NextManufacturing Center, and was announced at a campus event in late July by engineering professor and center director Jack Beuth. “Additive manufacturing is here now, and it's here to stay,” he said at the event. “One of the most important steps in making real progress with this technology is to bring all the key players — academia, industry, government, nonprofits — together to share knowledge, ideas and challenges. It's an integral part of creating a thriving additive manufacturing ecosystem, and today, we get do that here at Carnegie Mellon.”

As many engineers will know, the NextManufacturing Center is one of the leading 3D printing research centers in America and has masterminded numerous potent 3D printing innovations already. Among others, they are currently working on numerous tools for a wide range of industrial 3D printing processes. But with the NextManufacturing Center Consortium, an even bigger challenge is tackled: to increase the widespread adoption of professional 3D printing.

But they’ve assembled an influential group of eleven founding members to help them – all leading corporations and institutes from sectors heavily involved with 3D printing, such as the aerospace and automotive industries. The US government is represented by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, while engineering association SAE International is also involved. Even more importantly, corporations such Alcoa, United States Steel and GE are also involved in the consortium.

Especially GE is expected to take on a leading role in the consortium’s activities, and will closely work with the NextManufacturing Center on training programs as the founding premium member. “In order to be competitive globally, we need to strengthen the skills of the workforce and propel the industry forward. This consortium, made up of strong advocates and partners that believe in additive manufacturing, is an important step in maturing advanced manufacturing technologies and processes, so we can precisely and cost-effectively accelerate the speed of industrial innovation,” said Edward D. Herderick, GE's Additive Technologies Leader. GE previously opened a Center for Additive Technology Advancement in Pittsburgh back in April.

So what will they be working on? Among others, the consortium will seek to provide new research opportunities for 3D printing specialists, especially in the fields of 3D printing processes, materials, and hardware. They will also be training the next generation of professionals, and will promote 3D printing in various industries. “This new consortium is an important opportunity to bring leading industry, government and nonprofit insight into the center's research goals,” said College of Engineering Dean James H. Garrett.

According to professor of materials science Anthony Rollett, such a consortium involving industrial partners is crucial for reaching the next stage of 3D printing development. “Collaborating across disciplines and with outside companies has been a huge reason that we have been able to deliver such impactful results here in the NextManufacturing Center,” Rollet, who is also the NextManufacturing associate director, said. “We are very excited that the NextManufacturing Center Consortium is creating more valuable partnerships for Carnegie Mellon's additive manufacturing researchers. These collaborations will not only ensure that our research directly targets real-world problems, but that real-world problems directly influence our research.”

NextManufacturing Center Consortium founding members:

  • Alcoa
  • ANSYS, Inc.
  • Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation
  • Bosch
  • Carpenter Technology Corporation
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • General Electric Company (GE)
  • Ingersoll Rand Inc.
  • National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)
  • SAE International
  • United States Steel Corporation


Source & images credit: Carnegie Mellon University


Posted in 3D Printer Company



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Norman Shaw wrote at 8/22/2016 6:00:14 PM:

The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) has a support organization for non-profit Alliances/Consortium. If you are interested in finding out what support we can provide, please email to my attention: Best of luck with your initiative. Regards! Norman Shaw IEEE-Standards Association

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