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3-D printing institute awards $4.5 million to six projects

By: By Chuck Soder
CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS

March 21, 2013

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO — The new 3-D printing institute in Youngstown has awarded $4.5 million to six research projects designed to help turn the process into a more mainstream manufacturing technique.

The research teams will be adding $5 million of their own money to fund the projects, according to a news release from the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which was created with a $30 million federal grant awarded in August.

Three of the six teams will include local researchers, according to the release from NAMII, which was mentioned by President Barack Obama during his State of the Union speech in February.

Case Western Reserve University is working with the North American Die Casting Association and several manufacturers to develop methods for fixing and altering die casting tools that sometimes can exceed $1 million to buy new.

The second project, also led by Cleveland-based Case Western, will focus on analyzing the properties of parts made with two kinds of additive manufacturing techniques. That project is intended to make sure the parts can be used in aircraft parts, medical devices and other products.

The third local project will be led by Rapid Prototype + Manufacturing LLC in Avon Lake, Ohio. The 3-D printing company will analyze the properties of a high-temperature polymer called ULTEM 9085. RP+M -- which was founded by the owners of Thogus Products Co., a plastic injection molder in Avon Lake -- will work with the University of Dayton Research Institute, equipment manufacturers and large industry systems integrators.

The other institutions receiving money include Missouri University of Science and Technology, Penn State University and Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, which received two grants.