Students at West Virginia University will have the opportunity to experience a full additive manufacturing experience, thanks to a gift from GE Additive.
In the first quarter of 2019, the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources will take delivery on a Concept Laser Mlab 200R machine, valued at more than $250,000. The direct metal laser melting – or DMLM – machine use lasers to melt layers of fine metal powder and create complex geometries with incredible precision directly from a digital CAD file.
GE’s Additive Education Program received more than 500 proposals from around the world in the University and College category. WVU was one of only five universities selected in a competitive process.
“While additive manufacturing is already incorporated into the College’s educational plan, the practical experience of our students is limited to mainly polymer additive processes due to the lack of metal additive systems available in University labs,” said Thorsten Wuest , J. Wayne and Kathy Richards Faculty Fellow and assistant professor of industrial and management systems engineering . “As a result, metal additive manufacturing is covered mostly theoretically, without the opportunity for students to gain essential hands-on experience on this transformative technology.”
The Concept Laser Mlab 200R, which will be housed in the College’s Innovation Hub prototyping shop, will allow the College – most notably its industrial, mechanical and aerospace engineering programs – to deeply incorporate the sophisticated metal additive manufacturing system into its curriculum.
“There are additional parties around the campus that we expect will utilize the system, including WVU Health Sciences, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and the Davis College Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design,” Wuest added. “In addition to advanced and smart manufacturing, we also expect it will be used in a variety of research projects in areas including material sciences and quality inspection and controls.”
The College has plans to extend the system’s use outside of the immediate University community.
“The West Virginia Manufacturing Partnership, which is housed in the Statler College, works with small- to mid-sized manufacturers in the state to deliver a wide-range of services to assist companies with process improvement and growth,” Wuest said. “Part of that mission is introducing new and advanced technologies to their clients while explaining their benefits. The addition of this system provides their clients with yet another valuable resource that can be used for demonstration purposes, workforce training and design testing.”
Gene Cilento , Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College, commended Wuest on his leadership of the project, noting, “We pride ourselves on providing hands-on learning experiences to our students at all levels. This piece of equipment will be a game-changer and a great addition to the Innovation Hub and maker spaces we are developing now for our students and researchers in so many critical areas. We are grateful to GE Additive for their support.”
Now in its second year, GE’s Additive Education Program has awarded polymer 3D printers and curriculum to more than 1,000 primary and secondary schools in 50 states and more than 30 countries and metal additive manufacturing systems to 13 colleges and universities worldwide.
In announcing the award, Jason Oliver, president and CEO of GE Additive said, “For
additive to fulfill its potential, we need to attract as many engineers and materials
scientists as possible to build their careers in our industry. Getting machines
onto campus and into the hands of undergraduates, researchers and faculty members
is a sure fire way of getting them as excited about additive as we are.”
This gift was made through the WVU Foundation . Established in 1954, the WVU Foundation is a private non-profit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for the benefit of West Virginia University.