Northeast Ohio Emerges as ‘Silicon Valley of Additive Manufacturing’
While Silicon Valley is known throughout the world as a leader in tech, Northeast Ohio is increasingly building its own reputation as an important hub – a hub for additive manufacturing or 3D printing. Over the last several years, Northeast Ohio has developed a robust Additive Manufacturing Cluster, anchored by institutions like America Makes, the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI), and Youngstown State University. Cluster members include Lubrizol, NASA, Owens Corning, Parker Hannifin, Timken and many other large and smaller organizations. Companies and institutions like these are progressively building the region’s 3D printing expertise, making it the “it” destination for all things additive manufacturing.
Why 3D Printing in Northeast Ohio?
Northeast Ohio is ideally suited for innovation and production in the 3D printing space. Here are a few reasons why:
Supply Chain Strength: Northeast Ohio’s robust value chain offers great opportunity for companies seeking AM technology and partners. A study conducted by the collaboration of the Youngstown Business Incubator, MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network), Team NEO and America Makes identified 165 distinct companies and organizations directly involved in the AM supply chain. This number continues to grow as established and emerging partnerships accelerate the adoption and advancement of AM in the region.
End Users: Two industries core to Northeast Ohio – biomedical and aerospace – represent the leading end-user markets for direct part production via AM. NEO is home to aerospace AM leaders such as Parker Hannifin and Arconic; regional adoption of AM for medical devices and implants continues to grow in companies like SLICE, OsteoSymbionics, and QED.
In addition, AM is now experiencing rapid adoption for use in tooling, molds, jigs and fixtures – an industry at the heart of the Ohio economy. This has opened up the opportunity for manufacturers to produce components cost effectively at much lower production volumes than previously possible. This has significant implications for increasing innovation through lower fixed capital costs and shorter design iteration cycles. It is estimated that the opportunity for AM tooling production in Ohio will reach $1 billion by 2020.
Education & Research: Northeast Ohio’s higher education institutions are committed to preparing students for AM technology careers. Among the 26 accredited colleges and universities in our region (with nearly 400 more within a 150-mile radius), are these leaders committed to AM education:
- Case Western Reserve University
- University of Akron
- Cleveland State University
- Youngstown State University
- Cuyahoga Community College
- Stark State College
In addition to the highlights above, below are a few examples of the core institutions that have helped build the region’s 3D printing hub.
Established in 2012 in Youngstown, America Makes is the national accelerator for additive manufacturing and 3D printing. Structured as a public-private partnership with member organizations from industry, academia, government, non-government agencies, workforce and economic development groups, America Makes is dedicated to increasing the nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness.
The America Makes Innovation Factory offers a unique, hands-on learning lab dedicated to advancing the technology, processes, materials, and knowledge of additive manufacturing. Staffed full-time and entrusted with the latest AM equipment, the Innovation Factory serves to educate new and potential adopters by demonstrating AM fabrication capabilities and providing initial consultation on application development and prototyping.
Learn more at americamakes.us.
Tech Block Building #5 (TBB5) at the Youngstown Business Incubator
Housed on the campus of the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI), Tech Block Building #5 provides 65,000 square feet of space for all things additive manufacturing. The facility recently underwent a $5.2 million renovation, transforming what had been the print house for the Youngstown Vindicator into a technology center focused exclusively on 3D printing. TBB5 currently houses three additive manufacturing startup companies with two more planning to move in once the buildout is fully complete. Two floors of the facility feature AM and post-processing equipment. This equipment is intended to support local manufacturers and their adoption of AM technologies. The following equipment can be found in TBB5:
- XJET Carmel 1400: Ceramic Printer
- ProX DMP320: Metal Printer
- EOS 290: Metal Printer
- Okuma Five-Axis Milling Machine
Youngstown State University’s Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing
Created to advance research, education, workforce development and industry partnerships, Youngstown State University’s Center for Innovative Additive Manufacturing (CIAM) is a tremendous asset not only for the university, but the larger business community. Located just 1,000 steps from America Makes, the two institutions work closely with one another to leverage their collective knowledge and expertise.
CIAM is focused on the following areas:
- Materials characterization
- Process development for materials
- Precision post-processing of printed parts
- Innovative business strategies
- Digital manufacturing thread for additive manufacturing
- Design for additive manufacturing
Learn more at ysu.edu.
Interested in learning more about 3D printing or have questions about how your business can begin adopting the latest AM technologies? Contact a member of our team.