Additive Manufacturing Lab Opens New Doors

Young male engineer using 3D printing

Aug 30, 2017

Engineering and simulation firm Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies (PADT) has announced a partnership with Stratasys, a leading provider of 3D printing equipment and technology, for an additive manufacturing lab at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. Expected to open later this fall, the Lockheed Martin Additive Manufacturing Laboratory is dedicated to the use of 3D printing for creating composite tooling applications.

Lockheed feels advancing education on the use of these technologies will allow future designers and engineers to capitalize on the efficiency, time reduction, and cost savings of additive processes without sacrificing tooling precision or complexity. The lab is funded by a grant from Lockheed Martin Space Systems, and is the only such complex at a higher-education institution in the Rocky Mountain region.

MSU Denver will serve as test lab of sorts, with the additive manufacturing curriculum developed there becoming available for use by other academic institutions across the country. The lab will continue Lockheed’s significant support of additive manufacturing applications. The company already touts the use of 3D-printed parts in a number of aerospace vehicles, including a probe that traveled 1.7 billion miles to Jupiter. They see the lab as a way of educating their future workforce on the fundamentals of 3D printing and creating a core familiarity with its uses.

The new lab is similar to providing open source software to the industry. By establishing an outlet that develops, advances, and shares best practices on the training of 3D printing and additive manufacturing processes, Lockheed realize its future workforce goals while taking a whole collection of future engineers along for the ride.

These types of strategies are what will be needed to move 3D printing into wider-spread use throughout manufacturing. As young engineers become more knowledgeable about all its capabilities, 3D technologies could be used not only to streamline production and product development, but also to positively impact the supply chain, maintenance, and procurement operations.