When GE acquired metal additive manufacturing company Concept Laser in 2016, it acquired a wealth of technology. Concept Laser is known for its LaserCUSING method of additive manufacturing, an extremely precise laser melting technology that creates near-net-shape components with almost no waste. One of its most popular machines is the Mlab 200R, a modular 3D printing system that allows for a variety of build volumes and creates fine parts with high surface quality. Concept Laser’s technology enables parts to be printed in any geometry without tools, including hollow or grid structures. Now five universities have been chosen to each receive an Mlab 200R, thanks to GE’s Additive Education Program (AEP).
GE announced the AEP last year, a five-year, $10 million, two-part initiative to provide 3D printers to as many schools as possible. $2 million is being invested in providing polymer-based desktop 3D printers to primary and secondary schools, and $8 million is being invested in providing up to 50 metal additive manufacturing systems to colleges and universities. The first round of grants provided 3D printers to more than 400 schools in the primary and secondary school category and to eight colleges and universities. Now the 2018/2019 cycle has concluded, and five more colleges and universities have received metal 3D printers courtesy of the program.
500 proposals were submitted for the most recent round of the program, and five winners were chosen:
- Coburg University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Germany
- University of Limerick, Republic of Ireland
- Calhoun Community College, Alabama, USA
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
- West Virginia University, USA
The winning schools will each receive an Mlab cusing machine, in total valued at $1.25 million. So far, the AEP has provided polymer 3D printers and curriculum to more than 1,000 primary and secondary schools in all 50 states and more than 30 countries, and metal 3D printers to 13 colleges and universities around the world.
GE sees the program as an investment in the future of the additive manufacturing industry.
“For additive to fulfill its potential, we need to attract as many engineers and materials scientists as possible to build their careers in our industry,” said Jason Oliver, President & CEO, GE Additive. “Getting machines onto campus and into the the hands of undergraduates, researchers and faculty members is a sure fire way of getting them as excited about additive as we are.”
“I am thrilled that Calhoun is one of the recipients of a metal printer,” said Nina Bullock, Program Coordinator for Additive Manufacturing, Architectural and Engineering Design at Calhoun Community College. “We are the only community college in the state of Alabama that offers a degree in additive manufacturing. This machine will really help advance our program.”
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