That’s the message Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear brought to campus Tuesday when plans for the first-of-its-kind center were revealed to the community.
The center, which is scheduled to open this fall, will train engineers and other professionals from around the world on sophisticated 3D printing and other additive manufacturing machinery.
It will aid in the “critical development of the skills that it will take for us to move into a new space,” Beshear said. “Those regions that don’t continue to keep up will be left behind.”
UofL is opening the new training center with UL LLC, the Northbrook, Ill.-based global science safety company. It will be located on Arthur Street in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering’s Institute for Product Realization. Its neighbors will be the FirstBuild micro-factory and the newly opened Engineering Education Garage, which houses space for student projects.
The UL AMCC will offer hands-on training in additive manufacturing, focusing on metals. Curriculum will cover design set up and corrections, machine assembly, and parts production, inspection, testing and validation.
The training will teach students how to produce metal parts, establish safety systems and identify hazards in the emerging field of additive manufacturing.
UofL President James Ramsey said the new center is “an important piece of who we are as a university” because it will help workers improve their skills to fill jobs in a changing field.
“We think this raises the bar in many ways,” he said.
Classes are scheduled to begin at the UL AMCC in October, with a goal of training 100 workers before the end of the year. That figure is expected to steadily grow, before topping out at around 900 students in 2019.
The training that the workers receive here will allow them to “adopt new technology quickly and safely,” according to UL CEO Keith Williams.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he believes the center will enhance the city’s reputation as “a place to come” to participate in the additive manufacturing movement. It is important, he said, for the city to entice some of the students who come here to remain and bring their businesses to the city.