In Northeast Ohio, an additive manufacturing cluster is growing, with Youngstown at the heart of it. Organizations such as America Makes and the Youngstown Business Incubator are leading the charge, and Youngstown State University has been working closely with them to drive the development of a 3D printing-centered economy. YSU has become known for its 3D printing capabilities, and the university recently hit a major milestone by becoming one of the only universities in the United States to possess all seven major methods of additive manufacturing.

Earlier this spring, YSU was given a state grant that allowed it to purchase a 3D printer that prints using sheet lamination. Sheet lamination includes laminated object manufacturing and ultrasonic additive manufacturing. One of the less common additive manufacturing processes, laminated object manufacturing creates objects by gluing together layers of adhesive-coated material, then cutting them into the desired shape with a laser cutter. Ultrasonic additive manufacturing is a similar process that binds sheets of metal together using ultrasonic welding. Objects produced using this technology typically need to be machined after printing, and YSU possesses several pieces of subtractive or hybrid manufacturing equipment as well.

With the addition of the new sheet lamination machine, YSU is believed to be only the second university in the United States – and the first in the East – to have all seven major additive manufacturing technologies onsite.

Jim Tressel

“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.”

YSU’s suite of 3D printers and CNC equipment is hosted at the Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing, opened in 2014. At the time, the center housed only two 3D printers, which has now grown to 10 industrial machines.

“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.”

The Manufacturing Engineering program was just begun this past spring. Students pursuing the major learn traditional manufacturing processes in theory and practice, as well as additive manufacturing technology.

In addition to the industrial 3D printers, YSU has more than 40 desktop 3D printers as well as more than $1 million in inspection, measurement and scanning equipment and $500,000 in advanced automation and electronics manufacturing equipment. The 3D printers and other equipment are funded by 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.”

Discuss in the YSU forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source: YSU]

 

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