UDRI’s Fastlane awarded $225K for 3-D printing

A University of Dayton manufacturing program has been awarded a $225,000 grant from the Ohio Development Services Agency to help the state’s manufacturers adopt additive manufacturing in their mold-making processes, university officials announced Tuesday.

The UD Research Institute’s Fastlane Manufacturing Extension Partnership was awarded the funds in collaboration with Dayton-area companies Bastech and GE Aviation — Unison Industries.

The two-year grant, administered through ODSA’s Edison Advanced Manufacturing Program, will be used to develop and share with manufacturers a production-level case study outlining best practices in using metal-based additive manufacturing technologies to replace or enhance traditional metal machining in a variety of applications.

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3-D printing, uses a computer-driven “printer” to deposit successive layers of metal, plastic, ceramic or other material, from the base up, until a solid, three-dimensional object is formed. The object’s design is dictated by a three-dimensional digital file.

Officials said the process is more efficient and produces significantly less waste material than conventional machining. It also allows for a highly detailed and complex part to be produced as a single unit.

“In spite of the advantages, manufacturers — especially those in the small- to mid-size range — are often slow to adopt new technologies, such as additive manufacturing, because they lack the data to even know how to get started. So our goal is to help create a recipe for them,” said Mary Miller, a Fastlane manufacturing growth specialist, in a statement.

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