The Future of the Manufacturing Workforce Experiences Disruptive Technology’s Real-World Application
(SOUTHFIELD, Mich., June 29, 2023) - SME, the nonprofit committed to accelerating new manufacturing technology adoption and building North America’s talent and capabilities, and global additive manufacturing leader Stratasys, announced the winners of their cosponsored 2023 Additive Manufacturing Competition, conducted as part of the 59th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, held in Atlanta. The competition was supported this year by partner Autodesk.
First debuted in 2013 by SME and Stratasys, the contest both educates high school and post-secondary students about additive manufacturing technologies and design, plus provides them with real-world, hands-on experience that they can apply to a commercial product. This year, teams from 30 high schools and eight colleges competed to win. More than 500 parts were printed during the three-day competition, all on Stratasys 3D-printers.
“It’s no secret that additive technologies have disrupted the manufacturing industry, and through SME’s partnership with Stratasys we’re giving tomorrow’s talent an opportunity to feel, first-hand, its application on the job,” said Robert “Bob” Willig, executive director and CEO of SME. “One of the things students enjoy most about working through these challenges is experiencing the process of iterating, testing and adjusting their design, which is exactly why additive manufacturing is being embraced globally, across all sectors.”
This year’s competition challenged students to design and print parts to build an assembly that attached to a fixture with a rotating mount point to grab and hold three progressively more difficult objects. Then each team presented their process, engineering design notebook and printed designs to the judges.
One of those judges was SME Board of Directors President, James “Jim” Schlusemann, who says his experience at SkillsUSA as an adolescent was the seed that grew into a fulfilling career in manufacturing at Navistar. Engaging with the Additive Manufacturing contestants at the national conference was “truly a ’full circle’ moment,” he said.
Both levels of the winning teams received gold, silver and bronze medals from SkillsUSA, as well as scholarships of $1,500, $1,000 and $500, respectively, from the SME Education Foundation. Both levels also received a one-year subscription for Tooling U-SME classes and a one-year SME membership, plus post-secondary winners received RAPID + TCT full-conference conference passes. Gold and silver medal-winning teams in both categories also won a professional-grade Prusa MK3S and 3D printer kit donated by Printed Solid. Every competing student also received an Autodesk goody bag.
High School Winners
- Gold Team: Johann Rafanan & Sabal Schuster, Nova High School (Davie, FL)
- Silver Team: Reggie May & Kyra Sandahl, Payette River Technical Academy (Emmett, ID)
- Bronze Team: Alejandro Colon & Daniel Hulse, West-MEC Northwest Campus (Surprise, AZ)
- Gold Team: Dallin Hansen & Tom Swindler, Utah Valley University (Orem, UT)
- Silver Team: Armand Carlo Agbulos & Cody Buchanan, Madison Area Technical College (Madison, WI)
- Bronze Team: David Atess & James McBride, Meridian Technology Center (Stillwater, OK)
“Stratasys is again honored to be a major sponsor of this competition with SME. This year we saw phenomenal participants that learned how to design and 3D Print moving/working assemblies,” said Jesse Roitenberg, Americas education manager at Stratasys. “Many of these competitors had never done that before and their growth in understanding the process and how to design for that type of 3D Print was truly impressive. Again, these students reinforce that the next generation has the skills and work ethic to lead the next generation of manufacturing.”
In addition to the additive manufacturing competition, all 76 students participated in a certification. The Additive Manufacturing Fundamentals Certification Exam was administered to all students free of charge and was included as a percentage of the total points for each competing team. This exam is the first and only certification validating an individual’s knowledge of industry-standard concepts in additive manufacturing, based on revisions to the Additive Manufacturing Body of Knowledge by the Additive Manufacturing Leadership Initiative (AMLI) in 2016. 44 students of the 76 in attendance passed the exam (57% pass rate, which is the best since 2013). The SME Education Foundation prepared every student with a bundle of 20 Tooling U-SME classes (a value of nearly $400 per student) in advance of taking the exam.
This year’s SkillsUSA National Leadership committee for Additive Manufacturing was larger than ever, including Casey Melvin, co-founder of THEFUTUREOFJEWELRY and Jason Lopes, director, additive manufacturing at Gentle Giants Studios. They were instrumental in shaping the competition, including a mini challenge with support from Autodesk.
SkillsUSA is America’s proud champion of the skilled trades. Our student-led partnership of education and industry is building the skilled workforce the nation needs with graduates who are career ready, day one. As a national nonprofit membership association, SkillsUSA serves high school, college and middle school students who are preparing for careers or further education in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations. SkillsUSA’s membership consists of more than 340,000 students and instructors in every state and three U.S. territories. SkillsUSA programming covers 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, and is recognized by the U.S. departments of Education and Labor as integral to career and technical education. For more information, visit skillsusa.org.
Stratasys is leading the global shift to additive manufacturing with innovative 3D printing solutions for industries such as aerospace, automotive, consumer products and healthcare. Through smart and connected 3D printers, polymer materials, a software ecosystem, and parts on demand, Stratasys solutions deliver competitive advantages at every stage in the product value chain. The world’s leading organizations turn to Stratasys to transform product design, bring agility to manufacturing and supply chains, and improve patient care. To learn more about Stratasys visit stratasys.com.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Images are available from SME.
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