The U.S. Institute of 3D Technology (USI3DT) California, has signed an MoU with leading American 3D printer OEM 3D Systems and the state government of Gujarat, India. Under the MoU, seven 3D printing Centers of Excellence (CoE) are to be set up in technical institutes across the Gujarat region, with more CoE’s planned for construction in the future. 3D Systems will provide equipment, software and materials expertise for the CoE’s, in order to help the local subsidiary of USI3DT create 3D printing courses in India.
CoE’s will be located at Government Engineering colleges in Gandhinagar, Bharuch, Rajkot; Vishwakarma Government College in Ahmedabad; the i-Hub and MS Polytechnic in Baroda; and the Kalol Government Technical Institute in Kalol. Students at these institutes will be able to enrol in 3D Systems-certified courses offered by USI3DT. The purpose of the CoE’s and the courses are to equip students with 3D printing skills and knowledge, closing the gap between adoption of the technology and the skilled manpower required to utilize the machines.
Enabling students to fully realize 3D printing
The USI3DT is an educational institute that has been promoting 3D printing to students in the USA, and was inspired by America Makes, the Ohio-based additive manufacturing accelerator. It aims to provide education and training in 3D printing for students as well as professionals in order to “maintain the pace with the technology of the future.”
Catering to the upcoming demand for 3D printing professionals is a response to the lack of manpower in companies that can utilize the technology to its fullest extent. Alongside the cost of machines, many companies have been reluctant to adopt 3D printing in-house, preferring to use 3D printing services and on-demand bureaus to create prototypes. However, Deelip Menezes, Managing Director at 3D Systems, reported a desire from companies in India to purchase their own 3D printer:
“I sense a strong need to insource the printing of prototypes. There are two main reasons for this – cost and time. They feel they are spending too much money on service bureaus and it takes too much time to source the parts.”
USI3DT identified students as a way to overcome the lack of 3D printing experts as it claims they are able to see the potential of the technology, and are willing to learn, but are without practical courses required to learn. In order to create 3D printing courses for students in India, where there is demand for 3D printing professionals, the company established an Indian subsidiary, with Dr Yogesh Gandhi and Dr Ragin Shah.
Dr. Ghandi contacted 3D Systems to help develop the 3D printing courses in India using the company’s technology and expertise. The partnership will see students at the CoE’s undergo training using 3D Sprint, the part preparation software for 3D Systems printers. By training the students to use the software, Menezes hopes that they will learn more than just how to use a 3D printer: “Operating a 3D printer is the easy part. It’s understanding how a part needs to be printed is where the skill and experience plays a crucial role. There aren’t text books for this and any literature that’s written gets outdated soon due to advances in the technology, materials and process engineering that goes with it.”
3D printing in India
With the establishment of the seven CoE centers in India, there is a continued effort placed within the country’s education sector for 3D printing. In an interview with Wipro3D, additive manufacturing arm of global information technology company Wipro, Nikhil Chowdary, Manager of Additive Manufacturing at Wipro 3D, states: “3D printing in the education sector is huge in India. Students are doing electives and Masters’ degree in additive manufacturing. Even we hire students from institutes such as NIT Warangal, Anna University Chennai, IIT Hyderabad.”
3D printing overall has been developing rapidly in India, with the help of Make in India, a government initiative established to promote manufacturing in India. Recently, in March 2019, Sahas Softech, a Mumbai-based 3D printing service bureau and design studio, established a partnership with Farsoon Technologies and UnionTech to promote on-demand 3D printing in India. Furthermore, in December 2018, Indian 3D printing service bureau think3D opened a new 3D printing facility for medical device manufacturing. The facility is located in the AP MedTech Zone, a manufacturing park for medical equipment in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
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Featured image shows 3D Systems signing an MoU with USI3DT and the Gujarat Government. Photo via 3D Systems.