Beyond the benefits of teaching and learning, the 3D printers have bridged business collaborations between the institute and local enterprises. SDPI has helped several companies produce 3D printed prototypes for design validation, including a rearview mirror prototype for a local automotive manufacturer. SDPI also used 3D printers to create different models, including circuit board covers, packaging containers, small tools, and creative crafts.
Compared to the traditional model-making methods that required two to three days’ production time, it took only six to seven hours to 3D print the same model for tests, helping companies accelerate product development cycle and focus R&D capabilities. With growing awareness and the government’s strong emphasis on smart manufacturing and grassroots innovation in China over the past few years, Xu believes that adoption of 3D printing has become the inevitable trend to maximize manufacturing capabilities and optimize operation workflow.
“3D printing is already changing our lives gradually behind the scenes and moving up onto the stage,” said Xu. “Putting the next generation of engineers in touch with the innovative technology in their early years will benefit students in their future endeavors as well as the companies or industries that they opt for once they leave school."