One of the reasons why Boston is becoming a global hub for advanced additive manufacturing is MIT. Several high- profile startups have spun-off from the prestigious University and went on to become AM industry pioneers and unicorns. And traditional industry leaders have… adapted. Now MIT has launched a new industry-facing consortium, the Center for Additive and Digital Advanced Production Technologies (aptly named ADAPT).
With a core focus on additive and advanced manufacturing, ADAPT stands on four pillars: visionary research, scalable education platforms, actionable strategic insights, and a vibrant academic-industry ecosystem-based at MIT. More and more AM industry players around the world are coming to the realization that cooperation among different partners, specializing in different aspects of the AM value and process chains, is of key importance to advance the industry as a whole into the next phase of its existence. The final goal of ADAPT is to combine the resources and efforts of several key AM industry stakeholders to leverage MIT’s unique research and development experience and capabilities.
ADAPT’s membership fees support research projects on visionary new AM technologies, breakthrough materials, computational methods, and more. Research projects leverage the multidisciplinary strengths of ADAPT’s faculty and students – spanning mechanical engineering, materials science, computer science, and business – and enables members to reach beyond the constraints of today’s AM technologies and work hand-in-hand with MIT. To complement its technical research, ADAPT will perform strategic analyses of the present and future capabilities of AM and of digitally-driven manufacturing systems.
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ADAPT enables its members to recruit the world’s top talent from MIT, and MIT students to connect with industry leaders in their fields of interest and expertise. Beginning this month, ADAPT will seed exploratory research projects involving faculty and graduate students; accelerate the establishment of a new, advanced additive manufacturing laboratory at MIT; and host members-only events and flagship symposia.
ADAPT’s activities will also complement MIT’s leading AM education programs, including Additive Manufacturing for Innovative Design and Production, an online certificate program offered by MITxPRO; and Additive Manufacturing: From 3D Printing to the Factory Floor, a 5-day intensive short course offered through MIT Professional Education.
“I am thrilled to launch ADAPT to accelerate MIT’s efforts toward enabling the next generation of production technologies, wherein AM is a cornerstone”Prof. John Hart, MIT Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity
ADAPT is directed by MIT Professor John Hart, who also leads MIT’s Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity, oversees the design and manufacturing facilities in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and is widely noted for his research, teaching, and entrepreneurial accomplishments in advanced manufacturing.
“I am thrilled to launch ADAPT to accelerate MIT’s efforts toward enabling the next generation of production technologies, wherein AM is a cornerstone,” Prof. Hart said. “Moreover, AM – and the path toward a responsive, digital manufacturing infrastructure both within and between organizations – requires multidisciplinary expertise at the cutting edge of mechanical engineering, computer science, materials, and other fields. We deeply appreciate the support of our founding members, and look forward to solidifying our research, education, and engagement programs in the coming term.”
ADAPT’s founding members include several key AM hardware manufacturers and AM software publishers, such as Autodesk EOS, Formlabs, and BigRep, that have based their HQ’s (or key North American facilities) in the Boston area. Other key members automotive companies such as Volkswagen and General Motors that have been making key investments in AM and are seen as the next big target segment for AM production. ArcelorMittal, Bosch, Dentsply Sirona, Mimaki Engineering Company, Protolabs and Renishaw are also founding members.
“There’s no barrier to a company joining,” Haden Quinlan, ADAPT Program Manager, exoplained. “They should email us to express interest, and we will discuss their specific objectives in joining the consortium. Ultimately, the Founding Members are those with a strong internal commitment to digital manufacturing, and whose interests in accelerating the field are well aligned with our vision. While we don’t believe that AM will be used as a primary production method for every product, we do feel that AM has a strong place across the entire production process – from early stage design to the last unit shipped – and that with greater knowledge and confidence we will see the technology come into its own.”
The ADAPT members celebrated the kickoff at the recent Formnext exhibition in Frankfurt, Germany in November, and will convene again at MIT in Spring 2019.