By Eric Lanke, CEO, NFPA
One of the biggest splashes at the recent IMTS show in Chicago was the 3-D printed car. In case you haven’t heard the news, the folks at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Local Motors, and Cincinnati, Inc. worked together to create the additive manufacturing technology needed to 3D print a car frame, attach an engine and necessary components, and drive it off the show floor. There are pictures of it all over the Internet.
What’s this got to do with fluid power? Well, currently, not much. But the potential is clearly there to see what use our industry can make of the same additive manufacturing capabilities. Because the same people who worked with Local Motors and Cincinnati are available and interested in working with companies focused on hydraulic and pneumatics.
Mike Gust and I spoke to one of the ORNL guys, who confirmed that their manufacturing demonstration facility, and the advanced additive manufacturing machines it contains, is looking for industry partners to conduct applied projects with—testing the limits of their technology and its practical use for dozens of industries. They even have funding available. All they require from industry is the project idea and some dedicated time from one of the company’s engineers.
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