Summit: 3D printing will bring factories of future

Additive manufacturing, or “3-D printing as it’s also called, will give us the manufacturing of the future — and possibly the Dayton factories of the future, said those attending the first day of the Additive Manufacturing Industry Summit at the Hope Hotel & Conference Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The conference is happening just two weeks after General Electric announced that it would spend $1.4 billion to acquire two 3-D printing firms, Arcam AB, based in Sweden, and SLM Solutions Group AG, a German firm.

GE CEO Jeff Immelt has said that by 2015, additive manufacturing will somehow “impact” at least 25 percent of all of the components GE makes.

“Dayton has a rich history in manufacturing,” said Chris Collins, chief technology officer at Fairborn 3-D printer Tangible Solutions. “If you look down into Dayton and drive the streets, you feel the manufacturing embers are still here. And we’re just ready to throw advanced manufacturing and additive manufacturing on top of the embers to start the fire that is the next industrial revolution. We truly believe that.”

3-D printing weaves and shapes layers of material to make objects that were once shaped by CNC (computer numeric control) machines. Advocates say the process can be more efficient than traditional manufacturing methods, turning “every metal additive machine” into its own “foundry,” according to a slide presented by Edward Herderick, additive technologies leader for GE.

“It’s really the beginning of a new era for growth,” Herderick told his audience at the Hope Hotel.

Larry Dosser, former owner of Mound Laser & Photonics and today senior fellow for technology advancement at Wright State University, is working with college-age and younger STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students on introducing manufacturing, including additive manufacturing.

He sees a “huge corridor of additive manufacturing” in Southwestern and Central Ohio.

GE “is going for it in a very big way,” Dosser said. “It (additive manufacturing) is important. It’s going to be important here in Dayton, as well.”

About the Author