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    3-D future: Auburn opens additive manufacturing centers

    Additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, has applications in a host of fields.
    Additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, has applications in a host of fields. (Auburn University)

    Auburn University this week is opening two centers as part of partnerships to focus attention on additive manufacturing, or 3D printing.

    Global standards developer ASTM International launched its Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence as part of a partnership with Auburn, NASA, manufacturing technology innovator EWI, and the UK-based Manufacturing Technology Centre.

    Auburn and NASA also formally launched the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence.

    These initiatives were announced earlier this year.

    Auburn University is also in the final stage of renovations to the Gavin Engineering Research Laboratory, which the school says will, in part, house additive manufacturing research funded through the centers.

    Additive manufacturing uses 3-D printing to fabricate metal, plastic and other material parts using a 3-D computer-aided design model. The technology allows waste control and efficiency in designing complex parts without the use of dies or molds or needing heavy material. Its uses extend from industry to aerospace to the medical field.

    “The synergy among EWI, MTC, Auburn, and NASA will help fill the gaps in technical standards that this industry needs to drive innovation,” ASTM International President Katharine Morgan said. “As a result, we’ll empower industries that are eager to apply additive manufacturing to aerospace, auto, medical and more.”

    Auburn University President Steven Leath said the initiatives can “drive additive technology forward and unleash its full potential.”