By partnering with national organizations, the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) has become a leader in the development of Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology using 3D Printers.
RCBI is a founding member of the National Additive Manufacturing Institute, re-branded America Makes, an organization focused on enhancing the 3D Printing industry in the United States by fostering collaboration in design, materials, technology and workforce issues.
Through projects sponsored by America Makes, RCBI collaborates with universities and industry to research and develop the 3D Printing process. For example, RCBI partnered with Northup Grumman to examine composite materials for tooling used by the aircraft maker. In another project, RCBI works with Carnegie Mellon University and North Carolina State University, among others, on a first-of-its kind database related to powders used in 3D Printing. RCBI is also lending its expertise in workforce issues by participating in a national committee developing a “roadmap” that supports workforce education efforts in AM.
As a member of the United States FAB Lab Network, RCBI’s Design Works labs provide manufacturers, entrepreneurs, students, machinists and engineers access to a one-stop laboratory to turn their ideas into new, practical, sustainable and viable manufactured products. The Fab Lab Network began as an outreach effort by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Center for Bits and Atoms and has evolved into a global network of local labs that enable invention and promote commercialization by providing direct access to digital fabrication tools with 3D Printers.
Through its extensive efforts, RCBI is helping pave the way for developments in AM to benefit manufacturers, entrepreneurs and workers across the nation.