SME announces student DDM design competition | Automation.com

SME announces student DDM design competition

DEARBORN, Mich., March 27, 2008 - The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) called for submissions to the Design for Direct Digital Manufacturing 2008 Competition. This two-day effort will be held in conjunction with the RAPID 2008 Conference & Exposition, May 20-22, 2008 at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and Convention Center near Orlando.

Both university and high school students are invited to submit computer- aided design (CAD) "inventions" which capitalize on, among other criteria, direct digital manufacturing's (DDM) geometric capabilities and fit within the automotive peripherals or automotive after-market product guideline. Winning inventions or entries will be recognized by awards and other commendations and ultimately manufactured using DDM technology.

Each entry will be judged by a panel of rapid manufacturing academics, professionals, industry leaders and experts who make up the SME Direct Digital Manufacturing Tech Group. This volunteer member interest group operates within the organization's Rapid Technologies & Additive Manufacturing Community and serves to promote greater DDM shop floor usage.

As Carl Dekker, president of rapid manufacturer MET-L-FLO, Inc. and chair ofthe DDM Tech Group explains, "DDM is fast becoming a major part of our nation's key production industries such as aerospace, automotive, and medical." (See also: Manufacturing Engineering, March 2008, "Innovations That Could Change the Way You Manufacture")

The group launched the Competition in 2007 to broaden DDM's overall awareness and limitless possibilities for the next generation of manufacturing inventors and scientists.

Dekker believes that the technology's use of CAD programs or systems is a good fit to engage the inventive imaginations of the computer-savvy "Net Generation" or Generation Y - a generation born during the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s and which has already seen its older representatives enter the workforce.

"DDM provides the perfect combination of the internet generation's born computer skills and rapid manufacturing. This year's competition offers an exciting way for students to not only bring their automotive imaginations to three-dimensional life, but also learn new developments in this future-is-now technology," he says.

Last year's competition focused on computer peripherals with university students from Georgia, Utah and as far away as Loughborough, England, submitting winning entries including a customized webcam, a personalized computer game joy stick and a redesigned optical, cordless mouse to the Tech Group's international panel of judges from the United States and the United Kingdom.

The judges will rely on such additional criteria as innovative aesthetics via DDM, degree of customization/personalization, justification of DDM process and a cost/benefit analysis to select this year's winning automotive after- market product entries. The first prize designer whose work exemplifies how rapid manufacturing can best be used will receive a personalized recognition award, a certificate of achievement, a complimentary SME student membership, and other commendations along with the ultimate opportunity to manufacture his or her design. Runners-up also will receive a certificate of achievement, a complimentary SME student membership and the chance to see a 3-D or "live" prototype of their inventions.

For complete details and processes on how to enter, please visit www.sme.org/ddm and click on the Design for Direct Digital Manufacturing hyperlink. All entries are due by April 16, 2008 and each category submission should consist of a zipped file that includes:

-A completed entry form
-An STL file(s) (or stereolithography/CAD software) of your design
-A one-page summary stating why your design is suited to DDM (Include the benefits it would bring to the customer and indicate the volume of thebuild).

In addition, college/university entrants will also need to submit a three-page report containing the following additional elements:
-A justified choice of DDM process to be used -A justified choice of the preferred DDM material
-A cost-benefit analysis for using DDM (which must include an estimate of the numbers to be manufactured)
-Temperature range for product use

Entries will be judged by April 23, 2008, and winners will be notified at that time. Announcement of the winners and runners-up will be made at RAPID 2008, May 20-22, 2008 at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and Convention Center near Orlando.

About RAPID 2008:
RAPID 2008 which will take place May 20-22 at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and Convention Center in Lake Buena Vista, FL, is North America's largest annual rapid manufacturing conference and exposition. This premier industry event provides an interactive environment where buyers and sellers can gather to discuss, demonstrate, review, and evaluate the latest applications in design, prototyping, tooling, and direct manufacturing.

About the Direct Digital Manufacturing Tech Group:
This group was formed to identify and address the issues facing direct digital manufacturing. It envisions a world where incremental additive manufacturing technologies are utilized regularly in a production environment. The unique capabilities of these additive manufacturing technologies enable customized designs, unique geometries and novel material structures.

The DDM Tech Group within the Rapid Technologies & Additive Manufacturing Community seeks to be the leading organization and resource for the manufacturing community on advances in technologies and practices leading to DDM. Its focus encompasses processes, materials, machines, information technologies and best practices that enable companies to achieve direct digital manufacturing.

About SME:
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers is the world's leading professional society supporting manufacturing education. Through its member programs, publications, expositions and professional development resources, SME promotes an increased awareness of manufacturing engineering and helps keep manufacturing professionals up to date on leading trends and technologies. Headquartered in Michigan, SME influences more than half a million manufacturing practitioners and executives annually. The Society has members in more than 70 countries and is supported by a network of hundreds of technical communities and chapters worldwide.
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