Humtown Products Unveils the Only Sand 3D Printer in Ohio, While Nearby Universities Drive Regional Growth of 3D Printing and the Internet of Things
As thrilling as it is to learn about what’s happening with 3D printing and other emerging technologies all over the world, there’s just something especially satisfying about hearing what’s happening in your own neighborhood. Ohio may be considered to be flyover country by some Americans, but in terms of technological innovation, there’s a lot happening here, and I waste no opportunity to point it out to friends and family, many of whom are surprised to learn about how much is going on right in their own backyards.
One of the key drivers of the growth of 3D printing technology in Northeast Ohio is Youngstown-based America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. The organization makes frequent appearances in 3D printing headlines, and they’re now back in the news along with frequent collaborators Youngstown State University and Humtown Products, which you may remember for helping to produce life-sized 3D printed bobbleheads of a couple of prominent politicians in the fall.
Humtown Products now holds the distinction of possessing the only 3D sand printer in Ohio, a $1 million ExOne S-Max that was unveiled at the company’s new Agile Casting Solutions 3D mold manufacturing facility yesterday. The printer was procured with an Ohio Third Frontier grant given to YSU and America Makes, and will be used to support Ohio’s metal casting industry. The S-Max, which weighs more than 16 tons, is capable of 3D printing large, complex sand cores and mold packages without the need for physical pattern or tooling.
“It will enable industry to respond with ultra-fast product-to-market prototyping and the production of parts that were once considered unable to be manufactured,” said Mark Lamoncha, President and Chief Executive of Humtown Products.
The new facility will also serve as a laboratory and classroom for engineering students from YSU and other colleges and universities around Northeast Ohio. The 2,800-square-foot, humidity- and climate-controlled facility also houses office space and a 40-seat, auditorium-style training room that will host a 3D Printing Optimization Course taught by the American Foundry Society, which is collaborating with YSU, America Makes, the Youngstown Business Incubator, and the University of Northern Iowa to bring additive manufacturing to the forefront of the metal casting industry.Meanwhile, Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University has been busy extending not only its 3D printing programming, but its other technological research areas as well. In late 2017, the university, in partnership with the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and the Detroit-based Lift (Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow), will be offering a lightweight additive manufacturing professional certification program. The purpose of the program will be to increase workers’ skills in advanced manufacturing as well as to attract new manufacturers to the area.
Courses will be held at the CWRU campus, as well as possibly onsite at partner locations EWI, the Ohio Aerospace Institute and MAGNET. The program will focus on three main areas: additive manufacturing technologies, polymers, and advanced materials, including metals.
In addition, CWRU is partnering with Cleveland State University to develop a new regional academic collaboration focused on the Internet of Things. A $200,000, six-month grant from the Cleveland Foundation will allow the two universities to work together to identify and develop academic and research solutions to challenges that affect connected devices, as well as helping to prepare a workforce to further advance the technology in the region.
“This funding provides a focused opportunity for Case Western Reserve and CSU to develop an academic collaboration that includes education and research in the emerging field of IoT by capitalizing on our individual strengths, leveraging our complementary assets and identifying critical needs for the future,” said Kenneth Loparo, the Nord Professor and chair of CWRU’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
According to CWRU, the grant will support efforts to:
- Develop a model of private-public higher education collaboration around education, research and training with an administrative structure that supports its implementation.
- Conduct a feasibility study to test the model with an industry partner for validation, feedback and refinement.
- Host a public IoT symposium to promote the regional economic impact and opportunities and seek additional support and feedback from stakeholders, including public sector, industry and other higher-educational institutions.
“With increasing reliance on social networking systems, the fundamental structures of human contact and communication have begun to include the physical infrastructure around us in ways previously never imagined,” said Nigamanth Sridhar, professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at CSU. “The vision for such an always-connected world includes an Internet of Things, which can provide society with a seamless, coherent and unified interface to the world around us. This grant allows CSU and CWRU to work together in new and innovative ways to provide educational and research opportunities to our region.”
The grant is part of the Cleveland Foundation’s Digital Excellence Initiative, which aims to invest in efforts to facilitate a more connected community and increased digital civic engagement, as well as supporting overall digital skills development, technological innovation and regional digital leadership. The partnership also complements CWRU’s recently launched Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems (ISSACS), which was created last March to advance IoT research. Discuss in the Ohio forum at 3DPB.com.[Sources: Salem News / CWRU / WFMJ / Crain’s Cleveland]
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