This year, SME’s RAPID + TCT event is celebrating 30 years. As one of the preeminent events in the additive manufacturing industry, this fact may be lost on few. What most people may not know, however, is that SME’s activity in additive manufacturing spans well beyond RAPID + TCT.
In 1992, a group known as the Rapid Prototyping Association (RPA) was formed. One year later, in 1993, the association joined the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) to become the Rapid Prototyping Association of SME (RPA/SME).
Many of the founders of this group are household names in the additive manufacturing industry, including the late Dick Aubin; Terry Wohlers, FSME, Wohlers Associates, Fort Collins, Colo.; and Philip Dickens, PhD, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, England.
This advisory group has a long, rich history and has been supported by SME since its inception. Although the group has changed names over the years—later becoming known as SME’s Rapid Technologies & Additive Manufacturing Community Advisors, and today as SME’s Additive Manufacturing Community Advisory Board—its primary responsibility has remained unchanged, which is to advise the organization on initiatives, activities, policy and strategy related to additive manufacturing.
The advisors have always strived to push the additive manufacturing industry forward. Led by past chairs who include Joe Beaman, ScD, FSME, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas; Carl Dekker, Met-L-Flo Inc., Sugar Grove, Ill.; and Greg Morris, a self-employed advisor, Cincinnati, this group has accomplished a tremendous amount over the years.
For example, one of my favorite stories is the genesis of the ASTM F42 Standards Committee and how it actually spawned from SME’s Additive Manufacturing Community Advisory Board. In 2008, the community met and decided the industry needed standards, however, they did not just leave their meeting at that revelation. Rather, they were determined to do something about it. Brent Stucker, PhD, a former member and chair of the Additive Manufacturing Community and an associate professor at Utah State at the time, was just about to start his sabbatical. He volunteered to find a standards development body to host the activity. After a comprehensive review of standards development organizations, Brent approached ASTM about forming a committee to create standards for additive manufacturing, even volunteering to be chair. The ASTM F42 Committee, formed in 2009, has gone on to publish some of the most important additive manufacturing industry standards to date and continues to do so.
The impact of this advisory board goes well beyond this one anecdote. Joe Beaman’s paper on selective laser sintering (SLS), which was the first publication ever on SLS, was originally presented at SME’s North American Manufacturing Research Conference (NAMRC) in 1987. The advisors also started SME’s Industry Achievement Award (past winners include Chuck Hull, 3D Systems, Rock Hill, S.C.; Hans Langer, PhD, EOS GmbH, Krailling, Germany; and the late Carl Deckard, PhD). They also helped SME to start its first-ever Additive Manufacturing Certification Program, which is now overseen by Tooling U-SME.
None of this could have happened without the support of SME and the hard work of the countless volunteers who have participated in it throughout the years. In addition to the advisory board, there are many other additive manufacturing-related groups as well, including the RAPID + TCT conference advisors, the Direct Digital Manufacturing Work Group, the Additive Manufacturing Certification Committee and the Additive Manufacturing Medical Work Group, just to name a few.
As the current chair of SME’s Additive Manufacturing Community Advisory Board, I can tell you firsthand that we are actively looking to increase opportunities for engagement. If you are interested in getting involved, I encourage you to contact me, or any other member of the board, to learn more about some of the great opportunities available. You can view the complete list of advisors at sme.org/additive-manufacturing-community-advisors.
And, if you are new to the industry, I encourage you to attend RAPID + TCT (rapid3devent.com) in Anaheim, Calif., this year (April 20-23) to see what the industry is all about. You will not regret it. It was not that long ago that I attended my first-ever RAPID + TCT, and I vividly remember acting like a kid in a candy store!
SME is happy to announce that 74 new members have joined the ranks as life members. Life member status is achieved after completion of a term of office as the SME president or when a member’s age plus years of membership equals 100. Life members are able to use the initials LSME (signifying “Life Member of SME”) following their name and receive dues-free membership for life.
New SME life members:
Congratulations to all these highly deserving members for their longtime dedication to SME!
Tooling U-SME recently announced that it has received a Department of Defense (DoD; Washington, D.C.) grant to develop training programs that support the skills development of America’s workforce in the defense sectors, specifically manufacturing-focused training to produce military systems and components. You can learn more about this grant and Tooling U-SME’s full range of offerings at toolingu.com.
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