“Go west, young man, and grow up with the country.” This phrase is often credited to 19th century American author and newspaper editor Horace Greeley, who heard it from a writer for the Terre Haute Express, and was uttered at a time when many American pioneers, according to their belief in the ‘manifest destiny,’ were expanding across North America to settle out west. The Western United States certainly seems to be where it’s at these days in terms of technology; today, I’m talking specifically about Arizona, one of many states wholeheartedly embracing 3D printing. Just a few months ago, the Cline Library at Northern Arizona University opened the first MakerBot Innovation Center in the Western United States, and surgeons employed at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital use 3D printing several times a week. In 2015, Local Motors teamed up with Arizona State University (ASU) to conduct further research and development on advanced 3D printing materials. Specifically, the company worked with ASU’s Polytechnic School eProjects program. The Polytechnic School is back in the 3D printing headlines again, as the campus is now home to the largest additive manufacturing research facility in the Southwest.
If you go to school in Arizona and hope to pursue a manufacturing engineering undergraduate degree, the only place you can get one is ASU’s Polytechnic School. Additionally, it’s one of only 22 manufacturing engineering programs in the country that is wholly certified by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. The degree program page on the school’s website explains that the “project-based, hands-on curriculum and the outstanding fabrication facilities equip graduates to excel as manufacturing engineers as the manufacturing industry makes a dramatic transformation into a future globalized supply network.”
One of those ‘outstanding’ facilities is the Manufacturing Research and Innovation Hub, a 15,000-square-foot center containing a lab with over $2 million worth of polymer and plastic materials and 3D metal printing equipment. The university recently formed a partnership with Honeywell Aerospace, Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT), and Concept Laser to help build and make the new facility a reality.
“Partnering with these industry leaders provides us the capability to do additional research and enhance our education programs,” said Ann McKenna, Director of ASU’s Polytechnic School. “With so few of these types of centers, this makes ASU more attractive among academic partners, federal agencies and corporations to advance additive manufacturing.”
The facility’s lab has both a Concept Laser M2 cusing and an Mlab cusing machine, which are dedicated to metal additive manufacturing. The students at the Polytechnic School will be using the machines in the new facility for a “wide range of research and development activities including materials development and prototyping complex mechanical and energy systems.”
“Changing the future of metal additive manufacturing begins with educated teachers and curious students,” said John Murray, President and CEO of US-based subsidiary Concept Laser Inc. “The educational leadership that the ASU Polytechnic School provides to the Southwest region and the industry will certainly be impactful. Concept Laser is proud to be a partner in this initiative.”
Concept Laser Inc., unlike Phoenix-based companies Honeywell and PADT, is not located in Arizona, but in Texas. But if the focus of the partnership’s facility is to teach the students how to use additive manufacturing to produce fully-dense metal parts, then the company’s innovative and still-evolving LaserCUSING process will certainly help the lab achieve that goal.
Honeywell has a long history of providing assistance to the school, as manufacturing engineering program mentors and helping senior students with their final projects before they graduate. This partnership will be just one more way that they can help the students get all they can out of their education.
“Honeywell is thrilled to be participating in the opening of the new additive manufacturing laboratory at the Arizona State University Polytechnic campus,” said Don Godfrey, Engineering Fellow at Honeywell. “For many years, we have worked with ASU seniors on their capstone projects with three of these projects this school year additive manufacturing focused. In addition to our own additive manufacturing operations, we have provided mentorship to students in the program and assisted in the procurement of one machine for the schools’ new lab. We look forward to growing our relationships with the university in developing brilliant minds to tackle and overcome industry challenges associated with aviation and additive manufacturing.”
To celebrate the launch of the new Manufacturing Research and Innovation Hub, and their new partnership with Honeywell, PADT, and Concept Laser, ASU’s Polytechnic School will be hosting an open house next week, on January 18th. There will be a continental breakfast served, and after the dean of the university welcomes the attendees, McKenna will say a few words, and then representatives from all three of their new partner companies will speak. Then there will guided tours showcasing student projects and research.
“This partnership is the next and obvious step in the progression of additive manufacturing in the Southwest,” said Rey Chu, Principal, Manufacturing Technologies at PADT, Inc. “With Concept Laser’s outstanding technology, Honeywell’s leadership in applying additive manufacturing to practical Aerospace needs, PADT’s extensive network of customers and industry experience, and ASU’s proven ability to educated and work with industry, the effort will establish a strong foundation for the entire regional ecosystem.”
Discuss in the Arizona State forum at 3DPB.com.