ADVANCED MANUFACTURING NOW Modern Manufacturing Processes, Solutions & Strategies

Peter Ried Secretary,

DDM Technical Working Group

Digital design contest looks at mobility innovation


ow can we get around better? SME’s 2017 Digital Manufactur- ing Challenge invites college

and high school students around the world who are in STEM fields to answer the question—by creating forward- thinking, mobility innovation solutions. Contestants are asked to consider

how our inherent human physical mobility and/or performance may be restored, enhanced or given new capabilities. The challenge seeks entries meant to enhance physical mobility in one or

more of the following areas: đƫ Personal transportation. đƫ Existing sporting goods. đƫ Medical appliance/physical therapy devices.

đƫA new and/or unique product ad- dressing two or more of the above categories. While the design challenge empha-

sizes the unique capabilities offered by additive manufacturing, the over- arching enabling technology is digital manufacturing allowing the integra- tion and optimization of both additive and traditional manufacturing. The Design for Direct Digital Manu-

facturing (DDM) Technical Working Group developed the first SME Digital Manufacturing Challenge in 2008. It was one of the first competitions to go beyond rapid prototyping and fea- ture additive manufacturing. One important tactical goal of the

competition is to acquaint, engage, and inspire students to develop and demonstrate their technical and cre- ative “maker” skills. Students over the years submit- ted many forward-thinking projects


that showcased student design and creativity and demonstrated new and creative ways of using additive manu- facturing technology. In 2009, Marc Hanratty, of Lough-

borough University in England was a finalist in the Manufacturing Design Challenge for submitting an entry ti- tled “Rapid manufacturing attributes of speaker cluster and controller.” The end product allowed for reduc-

Bridges are currently inspected by positioning a large crane on top of the bridge deck. A team of engineers then use the crane’s cherry picker to drop over the side to visually assess the condition of the bridge. Individuals may enter the compe- tition. But teams of as many as four students representing a diversity of skills are encouraged to enter—to foster collaboration and leadership.

One important tactical goal of SME’s annual Digital Manufacturing Challenge is to acquaint, engage and inspire students to develop and demonstrate their technical and creative “maker” skills.

ing the number of parts in a speaker and controller in a seamless unitary construction. In this case, the number of parts was reduced to 8 from 79 by consolidating housing components and using snap fittings. In 2011, the winning UMass Low-

ell team designed a custom forearm crutch handgrip with an integrated iPod controller and flashlight. In 2014, students from Western Il- linois University designed a truck that featured nine pieces to collect and assemble from conference exhibi- tors American Precision Prototyping, Cideas, EnvisionTEC, Harvest Tech- nologies, Materialise, Met-L-Flo, rapid prototype + manufacturing, Stratasys, and Roush Manufacturing. In the 2016 competition, the UMass

Lowell team won with an “inspector drone” submission. The team designed it to help engi- neers remotely inspect bridges.

One strategic goal of the competi-

tion is to encourage high school and university educators to integrate such team-based learning activities into their curricula as a complementary means of developing the next gen- eration of designers, manufacturing engineers and technologists. Contest submissions are due be-

fore March 13. Winners will be recognized at

SME’s annual RAPID + TCT event, held May 8–11 in Pittsburgh. New this year, each finalist will give

a live, 15-minute presentation at RAPID + TCT and take questions afterward. Also new this year at SME’s RAPID

+ TCT event, is an R&D track for stu- dents and faculty, student poster ses- sions, and expanded hands-on learn- ing activities for high school students. Join us. Together, we can design (and build) a future better than any of us may have imagined before.

Fall 2016

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