The charitable foundation of global technology, engineering and advanced manufacturing company Arconic (NYSE:ARNC) has granted the UK’s University of Sheffield a grant of $100,000 (£77,000).

Part of the company’s $600,000 global education program, the money will be used to update facilities in the department of materials science and engineering. This includes, according to department head Professor Neil Hyatt, “equipping students in additive manufacturing techniques.”

A sample demonstration of study areas in materials science. Image via msesheffield on Facebook

A sample demonstration of study areas in materials science. Image via msesheffield on Facebook

A shot in the rapidly growing aerospace industry

Areas specifically targeted by the grant will be in projects for metals processing, and aerospace applications. This high value market is one of the key focuses of production and engineering at Arconic, as discussed the company’s Vice President of Advanced Manufacturing, John E. Barnes. In his Future of 3D Printing guest article for 3D Printing Industry Barnes comments,

The next five years for 3D printing are going to feel relatively more like hours than years as the industry takes off an an unprecedented rate. Analysts forecast the global aero 3D printing market will grow at an astounding 55% CAGR during the period 2016-2020 (TechNavio)

In direct relation to this grant Harry Klein, UK manager at Arconic, adds

The demanding nature of the advanced manufacturing sector requires exceptional talent with skills vital to drive conventional and emerging engineering techniques and technologies, especially in aerospace. Partnering with the university helps to build a world-leading educational platform.

Diagram of the range of Arconic's aerospace applications. Image via Arconic

Diagram of the range of Arconic’s aerospace applications. Image via Arconic

Education – the biggest barrier to 3D printing progress?

Developing a sustainable knowledge base in additive manufacturing is one of the key concerns shared by professionals across the industry today. Professor Moataz Attallah from the University of Birmingham mentioned a lack of specialist expertise in our interview with him about the Advanced Materials and Processing Lab (AMPLab).

Jonathan Schroeder, President of large-scale 3D printer manufacturers 3D Platform, also shared his thoughts about additive education as part of his feature for the Future of 3D Printing series.

A UK hub of advance manufacturing expertise 

In addition to facilities in the city center, the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) is part of the area’s Innovation District, which is home to other companies of interest including Rolls-Royce, Metalysis, and William Cook.

The University of Sheffield's Factory 2050, part of the city's Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District. Photo by: Bond Bryan via sheffieldbusinesspark.co.uk

The University of Sheffield’s Factory 2050, part of the city’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District. Photo by: Bond Bryan via sheffieldbusinesspark.co.uk

The university itself also offers specialist additive manufacturing degrees in its department of mechanical engineering. Related research reported by 3D Printing Industry includes the development of a ‘Diode Area Melting’ process, and the hybrid THREAD technique.

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Featured image: The Diamond Building at the University of Sheffield. A multidisciplinary teaching space for engineering. Photo via sheffield.ac.uk

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