Chances are, if your business or company ever considered switching from subtractive to additive manufacturing, you’ve probably heard of Senvol…or more likely, you’ve heard of its massive searchable network, the Senvol Database. The network, dedicated to searching 3D printers and materials, is aimed at everyone from those looking to purchase their own 3D printers and material, to engineers who need to look for machines that have specific properties, to companies undertaking cost and supply chain analysis, market research and sizing, and 3D printer and materials research. The free online 3D printing one-stop-shop continued to grow in popularity and add even more features, such as pricing information, and even expanded, adding 100 new printers and materials in the summer of 2015 and beginning to offer API access. Most recently, the company introduced Senvol Indexes in April, defined as “data sets for additive manufacturing material characterization.” Anyone looking through the database can find information on material tensile strength, machine material type, price, and build size, among over 25 other available search fields.
One organization that clearly enjoys using the Senvol Database is America Makes, the well-known collaborative partner in additive manufacturing innovation, discovery, creation, and research in the country. It includes five government agencies, including NASA and the National Science Foundation. America Makes, established in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2012, is a public-private partnership, and is made up of 100 of the top additive manufacturing organizations, including Senvol, a Gold Member. Gold Members are the middle tier of membership, enjoying a discounted fee for strategy consultation, a seat on the America Makes governance board, and the ability to use the America Makes facility for R&D purposes, as well as many other perks.
In keeping with their mission to increase the country’s global manufacturing competitiveness, America Makes launched a resource in 2015 called the Capabilities Database: it’s a members-only searchable directory that lays out the capabilities of each member, and includes a direct link to the Senvol Database as well. So it makes sense that Senvol and America Makes are expanding on their relationship now, by announcing a joint partnership that will also include ASM International, the world’s largest and most established materials information society. The organizations will work together to develop additive manufacturing machine and material selection learning tool exercises.
“The Senvol Database is a tremendous resource for the entire industry, and with the addition of these learning tool exercises, we are furthering our commitment to expand mission critical knowledge and training on additive manufacturing,” said Leanne Gluck, Deputy Director of Workforce and Education at America Makes.
The new learning tool exercises, free and available for download here, will assist users of additive manufacturing in getting “the most out of the powerful search features of the Senvol Database.” But how does ASM International fit into the mix? The association is made up of scientists and engineers focused on materials, and is dedicated to engaging, informing, and connecting these materials professionals and their organizations with the necessary resources to problem-solve and improve industry outcomes all over the world. According to its website, ASM has five critical issues intertwined with its strategic plan, and two of them go a long way in shedding some light on its new partnership with America Makes and Senvol:
- Life-Long Learning and Education: help materials professionals remain current so they may advance their careers and contribute to the continued growth and sustainability of the materials community.
- Emerging Technologies: ASM has identified materials-related areas where rapid changes and developments are taking place, and to keep up with changing member needs, is working to circulate useful knowledge related to these technologies.
As we know, 3D printing materials range from plastic to circuit boards to concrete, with nearly everything in between. So with ASM focusing on circulating knowledge to its members about emerging, developing technologies (and I’d say additive manufacturing/3D printing definitely fits into that category) that are related to materials, then working with America Makes, the nation’s additive manufacturing accelerator, and having access to Senvol Database’s ever-growing lists of 3D printing materials, to help create learning tool exercises makes a lot of sense. It doesn’t hurt that, like America Makes, ASM International is also based in northern Ohio.
The exercises were piloted at several universities with a major focus on additive manufacturing. Penn State University professor of Engineering Design and Manufacturing Tim Simpson, who is also the co-director of CIMP-3D, said the exercises are “spot on in terms of what of someone may face in industry.” So, just what are these exercises about? The top of the exercise sheet offers a little more explanation:
“With over 1,500 industrial AM machines and materials covering 7 ASTM-defined AM manufacturing processes, how does a company choose which machine and material to work with?”
“The challenge of selecting the right AM machine and material for a given application impacts not only individual companies but also the industry as a whole. Therefore, it is important for those entering the AM industry to learn how to make a thoughtful, well-informed decision regarding AM machine and material selection.”
The two available exercises are for additive manufacturing newbies, and will help users start to learn how to explore the Senvol Database functionalities and “use it as a decision-making tool” when analyzing machines, mechanical properties, various materials, and the cost of ownership.
“We are very pleased to partner with both America Makes and ASM International on this,” said Zach Simkin, President of Senvol. “America Makes has a clear vision to expand additive manufacturing knowledge, and ASM International has a rich history of educating industry on materials information.”
Each exercise gives the expected time it will take to complete it, the learning objectives, instructions on how to complete the exercise, a scenario to work in, the available resources, and several exercise questions to answer.
Partnerships like the one between America Makes, Senvol, and ASM International are especially important, as it seems like nearly every day, 3D printing companies are continuing to introduce new materials and machines. Helpful innovations, aimed at benefiting our society, can only occur if the companies working on them know exactly what they need in order to succeed. Discuss in the Partnership forum at 3DPB.com.