Digital manufacturer Protolabs has teamed with leading additive manufacturing (AM) consultants Wohlers Associates in a joint effort to accelerate design for manufacturing knowledge around 3D printing. The two like-minded organizations are bringing decades of combined AM experience to an immersive course created to help engineers and designers develop practical methods and strategies to get the most from different 3D printing technologies.
The invitation-only course titled Designing for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) takes place over three days near Raleigh, North Carolina, concluding at Protolabs’ state-of-the-art 3D printing facility—the largest in North America at 77,000 square feet. Leading the discussion are Olaf Diegel, Associate Consultant at Wohlers Associates, along with Terry Wohlers, Principle Consultant and President at the company. Diegel also serves as head of the Creative Design and Additive Manufacturing Lab at the University of Auckland. Joining Wohlers and Diegel are a number of AM engineers from Protolabs, with expertise in both polymer and metal 3D printing technologies.
“Designing for AM offers unique challenges and opportunities not found in traditional design methods,” says Wohlers. “Protolabs brings tremendous depth of expertise and leadership in 3D printing. We’re thrilled to work together to equip attendees with technical skills and manufacturing knowledge needed to unlock the full potential of additive manufacturing.”
The course is another step towards Protolabs’ larger goal of advancing industrial 3D printing as a legitimate production player in the manufacturing industry. Last year the company joined GE Additive’s Manufacturing Partner Network and later became a founding member of MIT’s Center for Additive and Digital Advanced Production Technologies (ADAPT)—a consortium focused on scaling new manufacturing technology through research, education, actionable insights, and an MIT-based ecosystem that pairs industry and academia.
“Additive manufacturing has moved well beyond this worn-out notion that it has to prove its worth—we’ve seen firsthand its maturation over the years and have literally 3D printed millions of parts during that time,” says Protolabs’ president and CEO, Vicki Holt. “We know it’s an extremely valuable prototyping tool but it has now made significant strides in materials and technology where production is its logical next phase. Collaborating with the world’s leading additive experts—and those who look to leverage that technology to its fullest—will serve to proliferate the education and adoption of 3D printing.”