Avon Lake, OH – Students from the Westlake High School Technology & Engineering department recently visited rp+m in Avon Lake to learn about cutting edge technology in the manufacturing industry.
Rapid prototype and manufacturing (rp+m) is a company that specializes in 3D Printing, product development, prototyping, and low volume production in both metals and plastics. CEO, Matt Hlavin, also has other companies that focus on plastic injection molding company, tube/hose fittings, radiation shielding and medical device design and management consulting. Other companies in the family include Thogus, Radiation Protection Technologies (RPT) and JALEX Medical.
The visit was a capstone experience to learn about additive manufacturing technology, where the students initially participated in the rp+m-sponsored Westshore Design Contest, challenged to design a device or product for someone with a handicap, disability, or injury. Students not only received a tour of the facility, they presented their designs to a panel of rp+m professionals.
Winning runner-up honors overall was SNEHA RAMACHANDRAN, who created the “Brake Mate”, a device designed to assist those who have difficulty riding a bike because of leg or strength issues.
Other schools competing in the contest included North Olmsted High School (overall winner), Keystone High School, St. Edward High School, Amherst Steele High School (3rd place overall), Firelands High School, Avon Lake High School, and Clearview High School.
3D printing is regarded as cutting-edge technology changing the way the world is manufacturing goods, producing food, and even replicating body organs. Three-dimensional printers are being used by medical researchers to replicate hearts and kidneys out of live cells and by NASA engineers to make replacement parts for space crafts out of metal.
3D printers work similarly to standard inkjet printers, but instead of printing ink droplets, they print layer upon layer of material in order to build an object in three dimensions. These devices are capable of printing in plastic, metal, glass, and other materials. And they allow for complex and intricate designs.
Complex designs can be printed, whereas in the past it wasn’t even possible to make or manufacture by hand. The rp+m company slogan is, “the new way to innovate.”
First introduced in the 1980s, this technology, which is also called additive manufacturing, is coming to the mainstream marketplace as 3D technology companies are springing up and printers are dropping in price. Forbes magazine predicted that the additive manufacturing industry will reach $5.2 billion by 2020.