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Missouri S&T Ready to Help Missouri Manufacturers

New Metal AM printer at Missouri S&T (Photo courtesy of Bradley Deuser, Missouri S&T.)

With the recent purchase of a large-format metal additive manufacturing (AM) printer, the Kummer Institute Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, Missouri, took an important step toward helping Missouri manufacturers use technology to sharpen their competitive edge. The purchase was based on input from manufacturers, who reported acquiring traditionally manufactured parts had become increasingly difficult due to irregularities in the supply chain.

“For Missouri manufacturers to succeed on the global stage, additive manufacturing must become the new normal,” said Dr. Richard Billo, director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing. Billo will oversee the Missouri Protoplex, an advanced manufacturing R&D facility that will anchor a planned manufacturing campus at Missouri S&T – where the printer and other equipment will be housed – when it opens in fall 2025.

In addition to being used for manufacturers’ projects, working with the industrial-sized printer is giving undergraduate and graduate students at S&T a way to deepen their understanding of challenges confronting manufacturers. The printer provides an opportunity for students to experience AM by programming, documenting operating procedures, designing computer-aided drafting (CAD) models to test, and developing maintenance plans.  

Along with other equipment that will be purchased over the course of the next 24 months, the printer is key to making workforce development more holistic. Plans are underway to modernize how S&T teaches manufacturing to undergraduates by incorporating technologies that will make it possible for students to gain hands-on experience with developing products and methods.

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