Defining the future of advanced manufacturing research and education

The Next Manufacturing Center is one of the world’s leading research centers for additive manufacturing (AM), commonly known as 3-D printing. The center leverages knowledge from across disciplines to develop an entirely new approach to AM: design optimization, materials selection and characterization, process parameter mapping, software development, final part inspection, and qualification. The center is developing tools for AM which impact a wide range of other advanced manufacturing processes. Making use of the innovative maker facilities of the college, the Next Manufacturing Center will also educate and train the next generation of AM experts through creative, hands-on problem-solving.

Innovating metals additive manufacturing

The Next Manufacturing Center researches current AM processes, but also looks ahead to where additive processing will be in the future. Efforts in the Next Manufacturing Center have been focused on research that will allow metals AM users to be able to:

  1. Design the process as they design the geometry of the part
  2. Monitor and control the AM process
  3. Vary material microstructure and properties within a single AM part
  4. Use a wide variety of metal powders
  5. Eliminate or design for internal porosity
  6. Apply machine vision, machine learning and other computational tools across AM
  7. Develop new alloys specifically designed for AM

Next Manufacturing research has helped enable these advances, which will significantly increase build rate and reduce cost, improve properties such as fatigue resistance, allow for customization of the entire process, and, ultimately, are helping increase the widespread adoption of AM. 

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The Next Manufacturing Center is a leader in the field of additive manufacturing.