What made you decide to apply at Brightlands Materials Center?
Before my current position at Brightlands Material Center, I mainly worked in an academic environment for a long time. Over the years, I gained a strong fundamental science foundation, but I also collaborated with many companies in projects. And while working with these companies I found out that I really like the high-end problem-solving part and product development where polymers are involved. The next logical carrier step for me would be a new challenge in the international polymer related R&D business. At that time, I came across with the vacancy in the Additive Manufacturing Program at Brightlands Materials Center. It was not difficult for me to decide to apply at Brightlands Materials Center (BMC) since I would like to contribute to a more sustainable future by applying my polymer knowledge to the development of innovative industrial applications just where I see BMC stands up.
What is your first impression of BMC?
My first impression of Brightlands Materials Center is quite positive. With my first step into the Center Court on my first work-day, I started to feel the motivative, inspiring and exciting soul of the innovation. For a scientist, being at Brightlands Materials Center is similar like being at wonderland. The modern architecture, high-tech infrastructures and instruments and many nice international, helpful and hospital people welcome me. In addition, to be able to work together with world-class scientist and engineers at BMC gives me a great enthusiasm.
Please explain your role as Senior Scientist Specialist?
My expertise is in polymer processing and polymer formulation development. I worked on polymer composites, nanocomposites and polymer blends as my core focus areas. Besides, I focused on rubber formulation development, biodegradable and biocompatible polymers and polymeric coatings. My main role as a senior scientist is to contribute to my groups’ existing expertise with my polymer processing knowledge to create an understanding of structure-property relationships starting from the raw material to the applied technology. In other words, I am responsible for developing new technologies and methodologies in the intersection of polymer processing and additive manufacturing. Trying to understand the industrial needs, and planning our research activities to answer those needs is also a big part of my role. Besides, as a senior scientist, I will focus on acquiring contract-research projects and grants from subsidy types of projects, since science cannot be done without funding. Moreover, for sure building a scientific and technical network for my group for future collaborative works also is a part of my role in my group. The last but not the least, as a senior scientist I am aware of the fact that I must be visionary to put light on my groups direction and take responsibility to guide the scientific and technological flow.
How do you see the future of additive manufacturing?
The additive manufacturing process involves a layer by layer grooving object from generally polymers and polymer composites. The benefits are widespread, allotting for more design freedom, improving costs when manufacturing small batch sizes and allowing for increased product customization, and so on. Although additive manufacturing, or generally known as 3D printing, is often considered as a “futuristic” technology, industrial applications are already being implemented in a wide variety of industries, and companies are taking advantageous of those benefits. Companies in a wide range of industries, including automotive, tooling, dental, etc., realize the value in the additive manufacturing processes, but there is one industry that is positioned particularly well to see growth and success from additive manufacturing, it is aerospace.
I see a lot of possibilities in aerospace applications of additive manufacturing in the close future. The aerospace industry was quick to adopt additive manufacturing. Aerospace is an industry dependent on advanced research and development, therefore additive manufacturing presented aerospace with a means to easily prototype new products, together with cost reduction, light weight design and toolless production.
In a more general perspective additive manufacturing can support decentralized production at low to medium volumes allowing companies to drive significant changes within the supply chain. These changes include the ability to manufacture products closer to customers, reduction in logistical issues and more interestingly involving consumers in design processes. I envision the future of manufacturing to leverage such advantages offered by additive manufacturing and evolve into a model that integrates AM techniques with more conventional manufacturing processes. For this, new business models based on prototyping and short run production will have to be developed while identifying those niches that consumers will support.
Which interesting trends in the additive manufacturing do you see?
One of the interesting and compulsory trends in additive manufacturing is the sustainability and circular economy. Additive manufacturing enables the producers to localize their production, which already decreases the carbon footprint. When products are manufactured using thermoplastics, the products also are 100% recyclable. So, whatever is made are often returned to the additive manufacturing raw material from which it’s made, making the bottom material available once more to be used in new goods. Therefore the growing trend in using recycled materials for additive manufacturing is one of the highlighted trends. The other one is the usage of sustainable and renewable raw material for additive manufacturing. For instance we will be witness of the applications of additively manufactured natural fiber reinforced composites based on renewable polyesters in the coming one, two years.
Why should companies contact you?
Over the years we have improved and exploited the unique manufacturing freedom of additive manufacturing which allows a high level of control of the material composition of a printed part. This creates the opportunity to make parts and products that have an integrated functionality which is hard to manufacture with existing production techniques. We do this by formulating polymer materials and printing processes to enable functional parts and products. If companies need an expertise in additive manufacturing from these aspects we are there to help them in speeding up their innovation process and support their success in the market.
Would you like to know more or are you interested in participating?