As manufacturing methods change, so must the skills of the workforce. To address this, Wichita State University will soon offer a graduate certificate in additive manufacturing. The 12-hour certificate is intended to fill a skills gap identified in the manufacturing industry.
Technological advancements around 3D printing – which now allow for 3D printing of metals as well as plastics and polymers – is expanding cost-saving opportunities in the field known as additive manufacturing, particularly in the aviation industry.
Spirit AeroSystems, Boeing, Airbus, Textron and GE Aviation all either currently use additive manufacturing to produce parts or have announced plans to do so. The U.S. military also sees cost-saving opportunities in using 3D printing to create replacement parts for aging aircraft.
“By offering this certificate program, we join just a handful of universities nationally providing advanced education in additive manufacturing, proving that Wichita State is ready to respond rapidly to meet industry’s emerging workforce development needs,” said Dennis Livesay, dean of the WSU College of Engineering. “We are proud to be a leader in expanding the economic development possibilities associated with additive manufacturing.”
Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research has received more than $26 million in federal grants that support advanced manufacturing in the past five years. More than $10 million has come from the Department of Defense and the U.S. Economic Development Administration to support regional growth of advanced manufacturing methods, including additive manufacturing. This includes $1.9 million for a large-scale Multi-Robotic Advanced Manufacturing system, part of the 3DEXPERIENCE Center in the Experiential Engineering Building.
In November, Air Force Under Secretary Matthew Donovan toured NIAR’s Additive Manufacturing
and other facilities, remarking on the potential of the technology to promote military
readiness by making it easier to maintain aging aircraft. An additional $16 million
grant for development of an aging aircraft sustainment program followed that visit
– becoming the largest federal grant in Wichita State’s history.
Additive manufacturing is revolutionizing the manufacturing process. Traditionally, most manufacturing was “subtractive,” where a block of metal is cut down to desired size and measurements. Additive manufacturing is what 3D printers do, starting with nothing but a strand of material and making something by adding material. This approach saves money by speeding prototype development, reducing material waste during manufacturing and eliminating need for on-hand inventory. It also allows the creation of shapes not possible with a traditional CNC router or milling machine.
“Engineers working in additive manufacturing need to adapt their mindset to approach design problems in entirely new ways, and this certificate will equip them to do that,” said Gamal Weheba, professor of Industrial, Systems and Manufacturing Engineering.
The additive manufacturing certificate requires completion of four, three-hour graduate courses, which will be offered by the College of Engineering’s Industrial Systems and Manufacturing Engineering and Mechanical Engineering departments. To qualify for the program, students must be admitted to the Graduate School in a degree-seeking or non-degree status. Coursework can be applied toward a graduate degree if desired. Students must complete all 12 hours with a 3.0 GPA with no grades below a C. Students can enroll beginning fall 2019.
According to the catalog description, “the curriculum focuses on key materials, technologies and benefits, and include topics on design considerations, post processing, secondary operations and important quality and safety factors. Additional concepts important to product development in aviation and biomedical industries are addressed and exercised as term projects.”
For more information, contact Gamal Weheba, 316-978-5777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Learn more about the new certificate
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