Early Career Engineers Learn About Additive Manufacturing in New York


Oct. 7, 2016


Members of the ASME-Association of German Engineers (VDI) Early Career Engineering Program contingent with members of ASME and New York University staff at the university’s MakerSpace facility. (Photo by Wil Haywood, Public Information)

Early career engineers from ASME and the Association of German Engineers (VDI) recently met in New York to take part in a three-day workshop focusing on additive manufacturing/3D printing — one of the key technologies ASME is focusing on as part of its new strategic plan. During the visit, the engineers took part in tutorials covering additive manufacturing (AM) topics, and visited two area universities that have active AM research facilities.

The event in New York was held as part of the ASME-VDI Early Career Engineers Program, which stemmed from an agreement the two organizations signed two years ago. During the first joint activity, five members from each society met at VDI headquarters in Dusseldorf in July 2014 to kick off the collaboration, which is intended to collect perspectives from early career engineers regarding the impact of advanced manufacturing, especially additive manufacturing, on their employers and subsequently the types of programs ASME and VDI should develop going forward.


Victoria Bill (left), manager of New York University’s MakerSpace facility, talks with Samson Shepherd, a member of ASME’s Early Career Engineering Program team. (Photo by Wil Haywood, Public Information)

This year, a total of 11 ECEs participated in the program in New York, which took place from Sept. 15 to 18. Anita Rebarchak, a senior systems engineer at Pratt & Whitney and the chair of the ASME Early Career Engineers Programming Committee, was the leader of the five-person team from ASME. The other ASME members making up the team were Simon Pun, a materials and process engineer at Aerojet Rocketdyne; Neha Dixit, a mechanical engineering associate at Practice Exponent; and Samson Shepherd, a mechanical engineer and project manager at Norcoast Mechanical in Alaska. Joining them on the team was Donnie Alonzo, Standards & Certification engineer from ASME.

Six members from VDI also took part in the event: Jan Lukas Braje, an electrical engineering student from Dresden University of Technology; Johannes Egger, an intern at INA-Schaeffler KG; Maximilian Engelhardt, a student of engineering and business administration at HTW Berlin ‒University of Applied Sciences; Anna Hoff, a systems engineer at Ford Werke GmbH in Cologne; Patrick Rülke, an employee of the electric car start-up company e.Go Mobile; Paula Weidinger, a Ph.D. student at PTB — The National Metrology Institute of Germany.

On the first day of the visit, the 11 young professionals convened at ASME’s 2 Park Avenue headquarters and met with John Koehr, managing director of technology advancement and business development for ASME, and Claudia Rasche, VDI’s project coordinator for the ECE initiative, who both provided brief overviews of their respective societies for the engineering teams. Israr Kabir, ASME’s program manager for emerging technologies, also gave the group a demonstration of the MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer that is housed at ASME headquarters.


Nikhil Gupta, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NYU, discussed cybersecurity concerns relating to additive manufacturing during his presentation to the Early Career Engineering Program group. (Photo by Wil Haywood, Public Information)

The following day, the contingent toured the recently opened MakerSpace collaborative workspace at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering with Professor Nikhil Gupta and Victoria Bill, manager of the facility. Gupta and Bill discussed the vision behind the laboratory, which was developed to make learning about and experimenting with rapid prototyping more accessible to students at the university. During the tour, the ASME-VDI team members were able to get a close look at the variety of 3D printers at the facility. In addition, Dr. Gupta gave a presentation, “Cybersecurity in Additive Manufacturing,” during which he provided his perspective on cybersecurity concerns related to additive manufacturing and discussed emerging research to help alleviate these concerns, including using embedded security features in additively manufactured products to ensure quality control and authenticity.

The delegation then traveled uptown to Columbia University to visit the school’s Creative Machines Lab, a robotics laboratory encompassing researchers from various disciplines including engineering, computer science, physics, math and biology. The engineers also heard a presentation from Hod Lipson, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Creative Machines Lab. Dr. Lipson, whose work on self-aware and self-replicating robots, food printing and bio-printing has received considerable media attention, is the co-author of the recent book Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing and the co-author of more than 200 technical papers.

The group then returned to ASME headquarters for a tutorial on additive manufacturing from advanced manufacturing expert Timothy Simpson, professor of mechanical engineering at Pennsylvania State University and co-director of the university’s CIMP-3D: Center for Innovative Materials Process through Direct Digital Deposition. During his presentation, “Design Challenges and Research Opportunities in 3D Metal Printing,” Dr. Simpson provided the ASME-VDI delegates with insight into additive manufacturing from both the academic and industry perspective. He also talked about his experiences with laser and electron beam AM machines, provided examples of several different machine builds, and discussed costs and the other pros and cons of additive manufacturing compared to tradition manufacturing.


Hod Lipson, professor of mechanical engineering and director of Columbia University’s Creative Machines Lab, addresses the ASME-VDI delegation during their visit to the robotics laboratory. (Photo by Wil Haywood, Public Information)

On the final day of the visit, members of the ASME and VDI teams met to share their observations on the previous day’s activities. They also discussed the next phase of the project, a re-convening of the two teams at VDI headquarters in Dusseldorf on Oct. 7 and 8, and the creation of a white paper or report including findings and recommendations based on the programs in New York and Dusseldorf. That report is expected to be completed next spring.

Interest in AM continues to exceed expectations and is poised to grow significantly due to major acquisitions such as GE’s recent $1.4 billion purchase of AM equipment providers Arcam and SLM, according to Dr. Simpson. In addition, “software firms are also investing heavily in AM, as our computer-aided design now tools lag our manufacturing capability, limiting what engineers can design and analyze,” he said, making this the perfect time for programs that familiarize early career engineers with this rapidly growing field.

“ASME’s Early Career Engineering Program with VDI is particularly important given the advancements in AM coming from Germany,” Simpson said. “(AM technology providers) EOS and SLM are globally recognized leaders in AM technology, and Germany and Europe are outpacing most the world in AM thanks to the Fraunhofer Institutes, which helped develop much of today’s AM technology. It’s important that ASME learn from their Germany counterparts how to engage with these institutes now that we have the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation in the U.S. Meanwhile, the focus on early career engineers is essential because these will be the engineering thought leaders that will help AM achieve its full potential.”


Tim Simpson (left), professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State and co-director of the university’s CIMP-3D: Center for Innovative Materials Process through Direct Digital Deposition, shared insights into additive manufacturing from the viewpoints of both academia and industry during this presentation to the ASME-VDI group. (Photo by Wendy Felton, Public Information)

The ASME-VDI Early Career Engineering Program is also significant because it highlights the fact that AM activities are taking place throughout the world at universities and other facilities, such as the TechShop network of fabrication studios, according to Raj Manchanda, ASME project manager for the ASME-VDI program and director for ASME Emerging Technologies.

“There may have just been a few engineers who were able to take part in this particular activity, but there are opportunities for engineers to learn more about AM just about everywhere,” Manchanda said. “If our project can help entice people to visit their own local university and ask if it has a MakerSpace they can get involved with, then we’ve achieved our goal.”

For more information on the ASME’s strategic interest in manufacturing or the ASME-VDI Early Career Engineering Program, contact Raj Manchanda, Emerging Technologies, by e-mail at manchandar@asme.org.