Youngstown State University now has commercial equipment representing all seven methods of 3D printing, believed to be the first such technological milestone in the eastern United States.
“With the strong support of government and manufacturing sectors, YSU has built world-class capabilities in additive manufacturing,” YSU President Jim Tressel said. “This latest milestone, anchored by our region’s rich regional history in traditional manufacturing, uniquely positions YSU to be a leader in the next industrial revolution.”
Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is the term used for a set of seven fundamentally new manufacturing processes that have emerged in the past three decades, each representing a new way to make parts. Manufacturing applications for these processes range from high tech aerospace and biomedical to traditional companies making consumer goods.
Earlier this spring, by way of a state grant, YSU received a new 3D printer that provides for an additive manufacturing process known as Sheet Lamination. With it, YSU now has 10 commercial-grade 3D printers that collectively cover all seven additive manufacturing processes. YSU is believed to be only the second university in the nation with all seven technologies.
“With this suite of tools, YSU is uniquely able to support the successful adoption of additive manufacturing among regional partners in industry, government and academia across the region,” said Darrell Wallace, associate professor of Manufacturing Engineering.
“This equipment also allows us to offer a learning experience that can be matched by only one other university in the nation. Graduates will support companies that seek to be competitive in the evolving manufacturing paradigm.”
In addition to the commercial printers, valued at more than $2.6 million, YSU has more than 40 desktop 3D printers supporting educational and research activities, more than $1 million of new related inspection, measurement and 3D scanning equipment and $500,000 in advanced automation and electronics manufacturing equipment.
The equipment is funded via grants from the Ohio Department of Higher Education, Ohio Third Frontier, Office of Naval Research of the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program, and the Appalachian Regional Commission.
“We want to thank everyone for their continued support of these important research and educational initiatives here at YSU,” Provost Martin Abraham said. “3D printing is changing the way manufacturing is done, but right now access to additive manufacturing processes and expertise is limited. That’s why it is crucial for YSU to provide that equipment and expertise to industry throughout the region and, especially, to our students, who will carry the 3D revolution into the next generation.”
Wallace said the equipment is especially critical for YSU’s new Manufacturing Engineering program, started this spring. Students in the program learn the theory and practice of traditional manufacturing processes as well as how to apply additive manufacturing techniques appropriately.