GE boosts learning in additive manufacturing
“This grant of the ConceptLaser MLabR Cusing system including processing software and accessories that will allow our undergraduate and graduate students to have direct contact with powder-bed laser additive manufacturing,” said Antonio Ramirez, professor materials science and engineering at Ohio State. “It will also help us attract and retain young faculty members engaged in metal additive manufacturing.”
Prior to GE Additive’s grant, Ohio State didn’t have anything comparable in this category of metal additive manufacturing. “This donation will enable us to incorporate hands-on metal additive manufacturing into our curriculum,” Ramirez said.
Ohio State was one of only eight colleges and universities to receive this support, which has a market value of more than $250,000. GE will invest $10 million over the next five years to develop pipelines of future talent in additive manufacturing. Ohio State’s grant is part of an $8 million pool that will subsidize up to 50 metal additive machines to colleges and universities around the world, with priority given to institutions with curriculum and research already underway in the area of additive manufacturing.
At Ohio State, the machine will be used in existing undergraduate and graduate courses in additive manufacturing, taught by Ramirez and others and open to students throughout the College of Engineering and other units at Ohio State.
“These and other advanced courses will expose students to different additive manufacturing processes, with a focus on metals,” Ramirez said. “The use of the MLabR Cusing system will complement lectures with demonstrations to show the effect of process parameters on defect formation, microstructural characteristics, and performance of completed parts created by the machine.”
It will also allow Ohio State researchers from across the institution to expand their fundamental and applied work on powder-bed laser additive manufacturing. “Several Ohio State groups and research centers like the Manufacturing and Materials Joining Innovation Center and the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence are actively engaged in additive manufacturing research activities, which will provide an excellent background to pursue our investigations,” Ramirez said.
The grant will help forge the next generation of scientists and engineers, on campus and off.
“Ohio State has outreach programs for high-school students to introduce them to the teaching and research efforts of welding engineering and materials science,” Ramirez said. “The MLabR Cusing machine will be an ideal piece of leading-edge technology to show these students the potential of advanced manufacturing, getting them excited about digital manufacturing as a career path.”
Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, takes digital designs and “grows” parts from the ground up. Additive manufacturing has the unique advantage of allowing shape complexity without extra cost. In addition, the process generates far less scrap metal, and components can be made lighter than parts manufactured through traditional manufacturing processes.
GE is a leading end-user and innovator in additive manufacturing, having invested approximately $1.5 billion in manufacturing and additive technologies at its Global Research Center.