By Amy Brundeen
Leaders from the ASTM International Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE) recently visited UNT's Center for Agile and Adaptive Additive Manufacturing (CAAAM) to explore partnership opportunities that support advancing AM consensus standards — aligning research and development programs with industry needs — for broadening participation in additive manufacturing and related workforce training programs.
"The AM CoE — formed in 2018 to bring together industry, government and academia to optimize additive manufacturing research, development, standards and processes — is driving research to accelerate development of standards for additive manufacturing," says Richard Huff, additive manufacturing business development manager at ASTM International. "The industry is expanding very rapidly, and we need to establish standards so they can support industry adoption of these game-changing technologies."
Because parts created with additive manufacturing, especially those used in aerospace, defense, and medical industries, have to go through comprehensive certification, standards are needed to ensure repeatable, consistent parts and processes.
"We believe the backbone of these standards are strengthened by the research currently conducted at universities like UNT," says Mohsen Seifi, director of Global Additive Manufacturing Programs for ASTM International. "Our visit will allow us to better understand UNT's research and how we can work together to move industry forward. We also have a shared focus on workforce development."
CAAAM has a broad set of expertise that sets them up to lead in this space. The CAAAM team includes researchers in materials science, manufacturing technology, machine learning, logistics and supply chain, and cybersecurity.
"We were able to build CAAAM when the state stepped up in a really big way committing a $20 million over four-year allocation," says Narendra Dahotre, associate vice president for CAAAM. "We have lofty goals."
With an impressive set of new equipment installed during an expansion of the facilities at UNT's Discovery Park last year, CAAAM leadership is now focusing on establishing more collaborations with industry partners and organizations like ASTM to grow the center's impact.
"Thanks to the leadership of Narendra Dahotre and his team, CAAAM is a jewel in our crown," says Mark McLellan, UNT's vice president for research and innovation. "We believe that additive manufacturing is a big part of the future – for industry and for UNT."
CAAAM's experts in additive manufacturing are leveraging the expanded facilities to bring in more grants from the Department of Defense and other federal agencies, as well as expanding outreach efforts to provide workforce development with local community colleges through the Institute for Transformative Education in Additive Manufacturing – an educational wing of CAAAM. They also are working with diverse industry members and hope to partner with ASTM International in providing training and capabilities tailored to the needs of the current and emerging additive manufacturing industry.
"We are thinking all the way to the moon and to the stars — any industry that needs to be able to design, fabricate and build parts. Additive manufacturing will be the cornerstone of that work," McLellan says. "Developing a strategic relationship with ASTM International ensures that we are maximizing our impact on the critical needs for continued growth of the AM industry, contributing to the development of high-quality standards, and fostering workforce development. The kinds of scientists and engineers needed to make this a reality doesn't happen overnight and without a very conscious and strategic engagement."