Many might be under the impression that we’ve mastered 3D printing for the most part. The technology is figured out, there’s a busy community out there making ‘things,’ and a thriving and competitive marketplace roaring along. Many–and they include some of the brightest minds globally– think that what we’ve achieved so far is only the tip of the iceberg, in terms of both innovation to be had–and what is going to happen commercially.
It only takes a glance at the billions of dollars being poured into facilities and research to understand that there is still obviously a lot that can be examined and explored in terms of 3D printing–and that perhaps we are truly only taking baby steps right now. Some of the finest minds are giving their best attention to this technology, and that’s a good reason to think we’ll continue to have our minds blown with innovation and some major change–most of which we may not even be able to fathom currently.
With $921,000 a year about to flow into a new center for advanced technology in additive manufacturing and functional printing–to be funded for the next ten years–one can imagine there’s a substantial amount of R&D going on. This center, to be housed at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), will actually be a consortium made up of a number of corporations and universities–both public and private, with performance evaluations required. It will be led by Denis Cormier, who is RIT’s Earl W. Brinkman Professor and also leads in the US as an expert in 3D printing technology.
As such, he explains that the center and consortium at RIT will be responsible for “high-value research and development,” with their area serving as a “functional 3D printing ecosystem” due to so many individuals immersed in progressive technology and innovation in the area. He sees a special focus in their area on:
- Print materials
- Print process systems
- High-volume sales and distribution channels
- Flexible electronics
“New York’s Centers for Advanced Technology programs have helped turn the academic excellence of top research universities into job creation and economic growth for a number of industry sectors statewide,” said Howard Zemsky, CEO and commissioner of Empire State Development.
The large sums being contributed to this consortium are from the annual Empire State Development grant. Along with other smaller, regional entities, the organizations involved are:
- Clarkson University
- SUNY College at New Paltz
- Xerox Corp.
- GE Research
- Corning Inc.
- Eastman Kodak Co.
- MakerBot Industries LLC
“We believe additive manufacturing can become a signature industry in our regional economy, and we expect this center to contribute to significant advances in these technologies,” RIT president William Destler said.
While many of the companies contributing to the consortium are obviously global players, RIT does see this as a potential boon for their own area. There are actually ten other such centers that have been announced by the state as well.