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A multi-dimensional issue

Jan Baum, executive director of 3D Maryland, has already emerged as a leader in Maryland’s additive manufacturing community.

Wednesday, her efforts went national, when she testified at a House committee meeting in the nation’s capital, among three other big names in 3D printing and manufacturing.

Baum joined 3D printing advocates from California, Minnesota and New York to tell the House Committee on Small Business about the opportunities to be reaped from the technology. They included the founder of olloclip LLC, which creates clip-on cell phone camera lenses via additive manufacturing, a member of the National Association of Manufacturers and the CEO of Shapeways Inc., which provides 3D printing services.

Left to right, Jan Baum, now director of 3D Maryland, and interns Sierra Turner and Jessica Searfino watch as a 3-D printer in the Object Lab at Towson University goes to work. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Left to right, Jan Baum, executive director of 3D Maryland, and interns Sierra Turner and Jessica Searfino watch as a 3-D printer in the Object Lab at Towson University goes to work. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

In her written testimony, Baum asked the House to support programs like 3D Maryland, provide incentives to small businesses that adopt cutting edge technology and to private investors in those companies. She also asked that the federal government continue to support research and tech transfer programs and to address the need to adapt education and training for new manufacturing technologies.

She also shared stories of three Maryland companies that use additive manufacturing.

Danko Arlington Foundry for instance, a 94-year-old Baltimore company, has used 3D printing to update its business by creating some of its own supplies.

UAV Solutions, a 7-year-old company based in Jessup, uses five industrial grade 3D printers in its manufacturing of unmanned aircraft.

And Dixon Valve & Coupling, in Chestertown, uses the technology for its manufacturing of industrial hardware such as fittings and joints. In 2000, according to Baum’s testimony, Dixon created an innovation center complete with 3D printing technology.

A House Committee memo about the hearing acknowledged the growing popularity and utility of 3D printing technology among businesses and entrepreneurs. But it also raised issues of concern, such as intellectual property and the manufacturing of firearms.

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