ASU's New Additive Manufacturing Center Brings Together Academics and Industry
The new facility is the largest academic AM center in the Southwest United States.
Representatives from industry, business and academia attended the opening of Arizona State University's Additive Manufacturing Center on January 18, 2017. Located within the Manufacturing Research and Innovation Hub on ASU's Polytechnic campus in Mesa, Arizona, the Center is the largest facility of its kind in the Southwest United States.
The 15,000-square-foot Additive Manufacturing Center holds more than $2 million of polymer and metal 3D printing equipment to be used by students, faculty and industry partners. A range of research and development activities will be conducted at the Center, including materials development and prototyping of complex mechanical and energy systems.
Though operated by ASU, the Center was made possible through partnerships with Honeywell Aerospace, Concept Laser (recently acquired by GE), Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies (PADT), and Stratasys. These partners are contributing equipment as well as assisting with student projects and research, internships, and mentoring.
“Partnering with these industry leaders provides us the capability to do additional research and enhance our education programs,” says Ann McKenna, director of the ASU Polytechnic School. “With so few of these types of centers, this makes ASU more attractive among academic partners, federal agencies and corporations to advance additive manufacturing.”
Industry also stands to benefit from the Additive Manufacturing Center, particularly in terms of workforce development and recruiting.
“We have a lot of very prominent manufacturers in the state of Arizona, but beneath that are upwards of 4,500 small- to medium-size manufacturing companies who need the workforce and who need the talent that we’re trying to create,” says Malcolm Green, associate director of corporate engagement at the Fulton Schools. One goal of the Center is to serve as a pipeline for feeding talent to employers.
“We are just scouring the Earth trying to find talented engineers, technicians and materials science people who can really bring a lot of vision and help this technology expand,” says John Murray, president and CEO of Concept Laser. “Education is an absolute cornerstone to this entire industry and its ability to expand, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”