Grant supports 3D printing program at Keystone

First Posted: 10/21/2014

The additive manufacturing, or 3D printing program at Keystone college is about to grow, thanks to a $290,850 grant from the Discovered in PA – Developed in PA (D2PA) program.

Governor Tom Corbett announced Oct. 17 the award will support the creation of the college’s Regional Center for Excellence in 3-D Design, Innovation, Education and Manufacturing, designed to foster innovation and transfer technology to manufacturers in Lackawanna County. It will be located in Brooks Hall on campus and operated by Keystone’s School of Fine Arts.

The new center represents a partnership between Keystone College, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, Skills in Scranton, and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center. D2PA is the Corbett administration’s flagship economic development, technology, and job training initiative.

“Pennsylvania is the keystone of American manufacturing, and to remain competitive we must ensure our innovative policies meet the demands of the 21st century,” Corbett said in a statement released by his office Friday.

Additive manufacturing takes a technology leap from current manufacturing approaches by offering more efficient methods of forming metal and other materials into highly complex shapes and parts. 3-D printers build objects by depositing materials such as plastic or metal, layer by layer, until a prototype, final product or piece of art is finished. The process is applicable to many industrial sectors including aerospace, automotive, oil and gas equipment, and electronics and more.

The center will serve as a regional resource to provide support and training for individuals and companies to take advantage of this new, advanced technology and serve as a catalyst for regional economic development.

Keystone College acquired a Dimension U-Print 3-D Printer and Next Engine Laser 3-D Scanner several years ago. This technology is proven useful by faculty and students participating in the art, design, forensic science, geology, and psychology programs.

Art department members use the technology to assist with numerous sculpture, glass, and design projects. The forensic science program finds it useful in developing a bone inventory and database for classroom and laboratory use. In geology, it’s employed in preparing three-dimensional models of topographic studies and shock waves created by earthquakes. Members of the psychology department are creating three-dimensional models of sound waves for research and product development.

“Keystone College can now offer important technical support to local manufacturers and entrepreneurs, enabling them to come to campus and sample or compare technologies and have their employees trained in a wide range of advanced additive manufacturing/3-D software,” said Ward Roe, art professor and chair of the college’s School of Fine Arts, in a statement released by the college Friday.

The center will also benefit Keystone students, high school educators and their students, as well as other industry professionals.

“This is the manufacturing platform of the future,” Roe said, “and Keystone is leading the way so our students, industries, and workforce will benefit from the economic opportunities that will be created.”

Keystone College President David Coppola said in the release the college is “immensely honored” to host the new center.

“We offer our most sincere thanks to Gov. Tom Corbett, the Department of Community and Economic Development, and our regional partners with whom we have diligently worked to prepare for this opportunity,” he said, “and move forward into an exciting future for our students and the residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania.”

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