Auburn University is establishing a new Centre of Industrialised Additive Manufacturing. The University will further the links to 3D printing in Alabama with General Electric already operating a facility in Auburn. The University has been given a three-year grant of $1.5 million from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and believe this will enable them to further their leading research into the growing field of 3D printing.
Tony Overfelt will be the center’s inaugural director as the William and Elizabeth Reed Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University and he believes that this news means additive manufacturing will continue to be a focus point of Alabama. Overfelt stated that, “Alabama has more installed additive manufacturing capacity than any other state and most countries.” Furthermore, it appears Overfelt has ambitions of making Alabama, and perhaps more specifically Auburn, a global hub for additive manufacturing. This shows as he says “one of our long-term goals is to make the state of Alabama the go-to place for additive manufacturing.” Overfelt believes additive manufacturing is important to the future of manufacturing and suggests that by giving students the opportunity to explore this new field in greater detail can only be beneficial for their future.
This news from Auburn University comes not long after it was announced that German company Berghoff Precision Machining L.P will be bringing jobs and investment to the city of Auburn. The city of Auburn appealed to the Berghoff Group because of the strong links between the University and additive manufacturing, Berghoff being active in the field of additive manufacturing back in Europe.
In addition, this investment will be further good news for the University as not only will the company be investing money into additive manufacturing in the area, they will also be creating jobs which should allow students to move swiftly into employment without having to relocate. Bill Ham, the mayor of Auburn, was quick to highlight this bonus as he stated that in the past students were forced to move away from Auburn in order to find work whereas now they are beginning to get an influx of opportunities. This, added to the announcement of the new Center of Industrialized Additive Manufacturing means Auburn is beginning to strengthen its grip on additive manufacturing meaning that not only is it a center point for research but manufacturing now also.
Featured image shows Tony Overfelt. Photo via Auburn University.