Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing (TEAM)
Two ATE Centers, MatEdU at Edmonds Community College, Lynnwood, WA, in partnership with RapidTech, at the University of California, Irvine, will develop new Additive Manufacturing (AM) core competencies and curriculum, based on newly developed Global AM Standards, to be used across multiple industry sectors, over a period of 3 years. Project TEAM: Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing takes advantage of an unprecedented opportunity in which education can be involved at the ground level of Global AM standards development, focused on technician education. It is this direct and early involvement of educators in the development of these standards and respective core competencies that makes this project innovative. The project is strategically designed to accelerate skills development for AM technician education by decreasing the time-lag between Global AM Standards development, their translation into core competencies, active integration into curriculum and their delivery in the classroom. The overarching goals of Project TEAM are: To participate at the ground level of Global AM Standards development by providing technical and educational input in the areas of terminology, test methods, processes, materials and design that facilitate the creation of AM core competencies. To add to the body of AM educational knowledge by translating AM standards into core competencies, and assisting educators with integrating these into AM programs.
The manufacturing industry has progressed beyond traditional subtractive processes such as drilling, milling and grinding. AM technologies are emerging as key enabling practices for modern design and end-product development, and are revolutionizing the manufacturing process. Developing global standards for this technology will take it out of isolation and proprietary, individual customization and into the broader industrial, technological and scientific communities. The project will advance knowledge and understanding of additive manufacturing by providing standardized vocabulary, materials, specifications, and quality benchmarks that can be replicated and accepted by industry and their customers. These standards will also define the baseline for establishing the respective core competencies necessary for developing the curriculum to be used in technician education. This project takes advantage of a rare opportunity for education to be involved at the ground level of industry standards development and is strategically designed to accelerate the skills development of the technical workforce needed for additive manufacturing. Each partner possesses a history of positive collaboration, complementary strengths and expertise, and well established networks that will be leveraged to make this a truly shared and mutual effort, disseminating the information effectively across industry, and educational sectors.
The development, application and integration of Global AM Standards in industry and education will positively impact the adoption of AM technologies, resulting in quicker time-to-market, lower manufacturing costs and a skilled and prepared workforce. By definition, the AM industry is highly innovative and expanding its use with standards-based knowledge will launch even more creativity into the field – broader use will stimulate more research and innovation. Developing common standards will promote rapid growth of this technology, intensifying the need for education that gives technicians a more comprehensive foundation of knowledge to work in this field. The concurrent development of core competencies and curricula based on these commonly accepted standards will be delivered by a network of prepared professional educators and industry trainers. By participating directly and early-on in Global AM Standards development and aligned core competencies, MatEdU and RapidTech will broadly impact AM technician education by:
- 1. Providing student technicians and educators with more comprehensive and up-to-date skills and experiences with emerging AM industry processes and methods;
- 2. Increasing transferrable skills to provide qualified AM technicians;
- 3. Enabling educational institutions and industry to establish AM as an attractive career pathway with an emphasis on recruiting and retaining underrepresented populations;
- 4. Increasing the use of AM in US industry, making the US more globally competitive.