For more than eighty years SME, formerly known as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, has been one of the manufacturing industry’s top advocacy and educational organizations, and has helped encourage innovation and technological advancements throughout the world. SME has launched several highly successful and influential certification programs, an educational foundation, industry standards guides and technical handbooks. They also launched their annual SME International Honor Awards back in 1954, and every year they single out the year’s most important and influential industry leaders and innovators. This year they announced their Additive Manufacturing Community Awards at 2016’s RAPID Conference & Exposition held just a few weeks ago in Orlando, Florida.
This year the Michigan-based organization awarded e-Manufacturing Solutions (EOS) founder and CEO Hans Langer their prestigious SME Additive Manufacturing Industry Achievement Award. Langer and his company EOS is an industry leader in the high-end industrial-grade 3D printing market, including their innovative direct metal laser sintering process that has been adopted by some of the largest and most profitable manufacturing businesses in the world. Langer is a 3D printing pioneer, and this is only the latest award he’s received for his contributions to the industry, including being given the Bavarian State Medal and being named as one of the 20 most influential personalities in additive manufacturing by TCT in 2011.
“This award is a recognition of Dr. Langer’s technical innovations and the widespread impact his company has had on the additive manufacturing industry since its start in 1989,” said the chair of SME’s Additive Manufacturing Community, Jason Jones, PhD.
3D printing industry leader Stratasys Direct Manufacturing sponsored two of the awards this year, including the RAPID Innovation Award which singles out new 3D printing products and services being exhibited at the conference that are expected to impact the industry. There were a record 27 entries this year, including finalists 3DSIM, Additive Industries, Essentium Materials and HP Inc. The final winner was Essentium, which won for their new method of welding the thermoplastic interfaces on 3D printed parts using the extreme heating response of nanoparticles. The process was singled out because they focused on increasing the strength of the Z-direction in 3D printed parts.
The RAPID People’s Choice Award was also sponsored by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing and was selected by RAPID attendees who voted via the RAPID 2016 mobile app for the best display or booth at the show. They selected HP Inc, which had a huge presence at the conference and showed off their new MultiJet Fusion 3D printing technology. Not only did HP hold live demonstrations of their new 3D printer, but Stephen Nigro, the president of HP’s 3D printing division, also participated in the event’s opening keynote session.
The Dick Aubin Distinguished Paper Award was given to Kevin Chou, PhD, and Bo Cheng of the University of Alabama, and Kenneth Cooper and Phillip Steele of Marshall Space Flight Center. The award was for their paper titled “Contact-Free Support Structures for Part Overhangs in Powder-Bed Metal Additive Manufacturing” detailing a novel thermal management process that would help avoid distortion in parts made using metal powder-bed 3D printing. The process reduces 3D printed metal components need for an anchor part using conventional support structures, which helps reduce the time, cost and effort required for post-print finishing, which often includes wire EDM and subtractive machining.
2016’s Direct Digital Manufacturing Design Competition was sponsored by SME’s Direct Digital Manufacturing Tech Group. They challenged high school- and college-aged designers and engineers to select an open source design for a UAV and use 3D printing to improve on the design. The winning team, from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, included students Tito Arana, Jordan Castillo, Michael Gager, Dan Stellaand Joanel Vasquez, and their academic advisor, Stephen Johnston, PhD. Their design used 3D printing to optimize the structure and weight efficiency of drones used to collect data on the evaluation of bridge structures and worker safety. The team assembled a complete report of their drone, how it would be used and how the drone would be brought to market and monetized.
SME’s produces the RAPID Conference & Expo each year, this year being the 26th, and their Additive Manufacturing Community regularly promotes and showcases innovative 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies, and encourages the manufacturing industry to incorporate new, advanced technologies into their businesses. Their efforts regularly lead to more efficient and cleaner technologies being developed and adopted by the industry. Each year SME draws on their Additive Manufacturing Community advisors and previous award winners to come up with their list of nominations and awards to be presented. You can see our coverage of the RAPID event in pictures here. Discuss further in the RAPID SME Additive Manufacturing forum over at 3DPB.com.