[Image: MTU]

3D printing offers design freedom, allows companies and organizations to save on production cost and time, and often increases performance as well. As the technology becomes more widespread, we are seeing its far-reaching impact on multiple industries, from aerospace and automobiles to consumer goods and fashion. Another area that 3D printing innovations are shaking up is the job market, which is why it’s important to offer courses that teach people not only about the many benefits of the technology, but also how to use it. While the ease of use afforded by plug and play 3D printers is handy for beginners, they typically won’t cut it when it comes to larger manufacturing projects.

This week, as part of a long-term strategic alliance, Advanced Curriculum in Additive Design, Engineering and Manufacturing Innovation (ACADEMI) was launched as the first hands-on certification program in the US that’s focused on designing and producing products for 3D printing. And in other educational news, the Manufacturing Research and Innovation Hub at Arizona State University (ASU), the largest lab in the Southwest, recently hired three faculty members to capitalize on the lab’s high-tech 3D printing equipment.

Dhruv Bhate, an Associate Professor at ASU’s Polytechnic School, said about 3D printing, “It’s a way of making things that penetrates many disciplines. We are at the start of something exciting. We are going to see a lot of growth.”

ASU Associate Professor Dhruv Bhate, standing with FDM polymer printers, is preparing engineering students for careers that involve industrial or aerospace-grade 3D printing. The students will be working with both polymer and metal printers. [Image: Charlie Leight, ASU Now]

The 15,000-square-foot lab, which opened this winter, has over $2 million worth of plastic, polymer, and metal 3D printing equipment, along with advanced processing and analysis capabilities so that the students, faculty, and industry partners that use the lab, such as Honeywell Aerospace and Concept Laser Inc., can be prepared to work in the expanding AM sector. A new composite 3D printer that can use two different materials arrived at the lab on Friday, joining four other technologies that can be used to print functional parts.

Students 3D printed ASU pitchforks onsite for the grand opening of the Manufacturing Research and Innovation Hub in January. [Image: Jessica Hochreiter, ASU]

“And we’re growing. We are in a growth mode to catch up with all the equipment we’ve invested in,” Bhate said about the lab.

Bhate teaches three 3D printing courses at the university that will help students learn the necessary skills to get into the industry:

  • Additive Manufacturing Processes
  • Design for Additive Manufacturing
  • Additive Manufacturing Materials & Structures

Companies including Honeywell and Orbital ATK are seeing an uptick in skilled workers entering career paths and are benefiting from graduates of programs such as those offered by ASU. The importance of designing for additive manufacturing (DfAM) is growing among companies employing AM technologies, and students graduating with these skills face a bright future of prospects.

Bhate said, “It is one of the hottest courses in demand right now.”

Speaking of 3D printing courses, the CEO of Immensa Technology Labs, which opened this summer as the first 3D printing facility in Dubai, will soon be launching the first unaffiliated 3D printing institute in the region. The school will begin by offering up to 30 different courses next month that target students and professionals.

Immensa CEO Fahmi Al Shawwa told Arabian Business that the 3D printing courses “…will all be related to the application of additive manufacturing for different sectors, the materials, and the technologies.

“It [Immensa] has moved from just a business to being an advocate of sitting down and [gathering people] to talk about how we can utilise this technology in a very cost effective way. There has been a lot of hype and a lot of people talking about it. But how much application has there been? It’s not even minimal. It’s negligible.”

[Image: Arabian Business]

Immensa will also be developing a website that’s designed to educate consumers about 3D printing.

“We realised a lot of inquiries we get are from individuals and consumers…so we’re launching a portal, a website. In the ‘make it’ section, you upload your 3D design, and it tells you the available materials, the pricing and so on. You click it, you buy it and it gets shipped to you,” explained Al Shawwa.

The second part of the new consumer website will be a marketplace for users to upload and sell their designs, as well as their 3D printed products.

Al Shawwa said, “This facilitates AM [additive manufacturing] accessibility in the region, instead of shipping internationally. You’ve got a lot of designers, students and freelancers [here] that come up with fantastic designs.”

Next month, Immensa will also host a seminar on 3D printing for the general public, and a separate one for the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), which is no stranger to the many innovations the technology offers.

Let us know what you think about this news; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com, or leave a Facebook comment below.

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