US manufacturing institutes, LIFT (Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow) and America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, have begun an initiative with Cincinnati State Technical and Community College (CSTCC) in the US to develop an open-source curriculum covering lightweight additive manufacturing.

As the use of lightweight additive manufacturing continues to grow across the country, the skills gap in the workforce is growing at the same time, because the technology advancement has outpaced available curriculum and workforce education or those teaching tools have been available only to graduate-level students, according to the institutes.

‘Additive manufacturing is growing at an exponential rate across the manufacturing industry, so fast that the education and training tools cannot keep pace,’ said Elliot Ruther, chief development officer, CSTCC. ‘By developing this curriculum, we’ll put some of the most advanced lightweight additive manufacturing technology into the hands of more students.’

Production flexibility

This new technology, particularly with lightweighting applications, requires the use of highly complex geometry and algorithms which provide the high strength-to-weight ratios required by industry, while using the production flexibility provided by additive manufacturing.

As part of this initiative, CSTCC and its new Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) will develop curriculum in two tracks:

  • Using additive manufacturing equipment and techniques to produce precision objects across a wider field
  • Using an array of digital tools to allow students to become additive manufacturing designers, molders and simulators.

 ‘The use of additive manufacturing is exploding across industries due to its flexibility and availability of equipment,’ said Leanne Gluck, deputy director, workforce and educational outreach, America Makes. ‘To ensure additive can be used to its utmost potential and by a skilled workforce, we must invest in education and curriculum to support it.’

This story uses material from America Makeswith editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.