New additive manufacturing center in Cleveland
Rapid Prototype + Manufacturing (rp+m) has formally partnered with Case Western Reserve University to move its research and development arm to the university, joining forces with faculty researchers to develop new technologies in the growing additive manufacturing market, assist students in entrepreneurship and with research opportunities, and boost economic development in the region.
The Avon Lake-based business and Case Western Reserve have signed a memorandum of understanding to create the Additive Manufacturing Studio in think[box], the high-tech invention center on campus, this summer.
rp+m employees will work in the studio, where the company will install eight pieces of 3-D additive manufacturing equipment. The equipment will triple the number of 3-D printers in think[box] and increase the breadth of materials that can be used threefold, including bringing the first metal-printing machines to campus.
The university and rp+m have also agreed to pursue research grants and research and development partnerships with companies locally and worldwide—an effort that has already begun.
"We are very excited to help create the Additive Manufacturing Studio at think[box],” said Anthony Hughes, chief technology officer at rp+m. “This has been over a year in the making and another way in which we are broadening our partnership with Case Western Reserve University.” The collaboration, Hughes said, “is essential to rp+m’s business success."
William “Bud” Baeslack, Case Western Reserve provost, said the joint effort will boost research and better prepare students for the workforce. “Beyond gaining infrastructure and support that we couldn’t on our own, their staff and our students will be working side-by-side—our students will collaborate and be engaged in a real-world learning environment,” Baeslack said.
rp+m and the university are already working together with other companies to convert a laser hotwire welding technique into a 3-D manufacturing process, a project funded by America Makes, the Youngstown-based National Network of Manufacturing Innovation institute. They have also hosted a company on campus and at rp+m, in an effort to establish another research and development partnership.
University and rp+m officials have begun planning the studio layout and expect to start moving equipment in by July.