A leading technology touted in President Barack Obama's recent State of the Union address is already part of the curriculum at Jamestown Community College's Manufacturing Technology Institute.
President Obama described the burgeoning field of 3-D printing as having the potential to fuel new high-tech jobs in the United States.
Michael Weaver, JCC's director of engineering science and technology, concurs with the president and other advocates who say that 3-D printing could change the face of manufacturing.
Drew Peterson of Dunkirk, a JCC sophomore majoring in mechanical technology with a specialization in machine tool technology, reviews the CAD model he developed to create the plastic motor housing held by Mike Weaver, JCC’s director of engineering science and technology.
"Essentially, 3-D printing enables innovation and continuous improvement in manufacturing," Weaver said. "The process of 3-D printing, which we also call 'additive manufacturing,' uses computer-created digital models to create real-world objects - everything from simple gadgets to more complex objects such as functioning machines. The printers follow the shape of the model by stacking layer on layer of material to make the objects and create a prototype."
According to Weaver, JCC students get exposure to and experience with 3-D printing in two different courses Advanced Solid Modeling and Manufacturing Process.
"As part of our Associate in Applied Science degree program in mechanical technology, students complete a capstone project at MTI that requires them to execute the full manufacturing process from design to creation of a prototype," he said. "There's no doubt in my mind that students completing JCC's program are well prepared to contribute to and be leaders in manufacturing."
Area industries also tap in to MTI's 3-D modeling capabilities. "We invite our regional manufacturers to connect with us and use MTI as a laboratory phase for their product development," Weaver said. "We've worked with Universal Tool, Hopes Windows, Jamestown Furniture Hardware, Bush Industries, SKF and Zurn Industries, just to name a few."
"The strong connection between JCC's MTI and area industries makes this a tremendous environment to nurture current manufacturers and develop new ones," said Todd Tranum, executive director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier and president/CEO of Dream It Do It Western New York.
"Applying 3-D printing technology can shorten the time from design to market for manufacturers," he said. "The opportunity to be educated in 3-D technology at MTI is both an asset for the region and a true strength for graduates who will be prepared for tomorrow's workforce. These are the connections that the 'Dream It Do It' initiative was designed to support and promote."
For additional information on JCC's Manufacturing Technology Institute, call 338-1328 or visit www.sunyjcc.edu/mti.