Case Western Reserve University is set to benefit from a new on-campus 3D printing and Additive Manufacturing R&D facility following its recently announced formal partnership with Rapid Prototype + Manufacturing (rp+m). The company will move its research and development arm to the university where it will “join forces” with faculty researchers to develop new technologies in the growing additive manufacturing market and assist students in entrepreneurship and with research opportunities with the technologies — with the specific aim of boosting economic development in this region of North America.
The Avon Lake-based business and Case Western Reserve have announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding to create the Additive Manufacturing Studio in think, the high-tech invention center on campus, this summer.
rp+m employees will work in the studio, where the company will install eight additive manufacturing platforms. The equipment will triple the number of 3D printers in think 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,” 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, provost of Case Western Reserve, said the joint effort will boost research and better prepare students for the workforce, commenting: “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.”
rp+m and the university are already working together with other companies to convert a laser hotwire welding technique into a 3D 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.