YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown is in the center of America’s additive manufacturing movement, and now Youngstown State University is even more involved.
The university now has commercial equipment representing every method of the process.
3D printing makes parts layer by layer, which is why it also has the name additive manufacturing. The process has emerged over the past 30 years.
Youngstown State University has been in the forefront of expanding the technology in the eastern United States and has just acquired a new printer which uses sheet lamination technology, which basically takes printer paper, cuts it into shape and glues the cutouts together.
“We think we’re only the second university to have all seven technologies and probably the only one east of the Mississippi,” said Darrell Wallace, associate professor of Manufacturing Engineering.
The other school is the University of Texas El Paso.
In addition to the commercial printers, valued at more than $2.6 million, the school has 40 3D printers and more than $1 million in inspection, measurement and scanning equipment.
Combined with Youngstown-based America Makes, which leads additive manufacturing efforts in the U.S.A., the time is right to be in this field.
“The cumulative growth rate of additive manufacturing is more than 90 percent. It’s growing extraordinarily quickly,” Wallace said.
The equipment at YSU gives students a unique learning experience to be ready for a job and to assist industries in adopting the new technologies
“It really puts us at an advantage at YSU in the region and certainly for our students to be in demand throughout the country,” Wallace said.
Manufacturing applications for the process range from high tech aerospace and biomedical to traditional companies making consumer goods. One way it’s being used locally is to help produce some parts which aren’t made anymore for the C130s.
YSU President Jim Tressel said the program and new equipment has allowed YSU to build world-class capabilities in additive manufacturing.
“This latest milestone, anchored by our region’s rich regional history in traditional manufacturing, uniquely positions YSU to be a leader in the next industrial revolution,” Tressel said in a prepared media release.
YSU’s new Manufacturing Engineering program started this spring. Students learn traditional manufacturing and how to incorporate additive manufacturing to make tooling to support it.