Raytheon is hiring 4,500 engineers this year but can’t find enough qualified candidates. “That’s a frightening problem for a company like ours,” CEO William Swanson said in remarks prepared for a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce this week.
Thirty percent of the four million Americans in ninth grade in 2001 dropped out of high school, Swanson said. And fewer than 280,000 majored in a technical field in college, and only 167,000 will earn a scientific or technical degree by 2011. And a mere 64,000 will become engineers. “Compared to China, India, and other parts of the world,” he said, “it’s a drop in the bucket.”
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
3D printing, 4D printing, and various types of additive manufacturing (AM) will get even bigger in 2015. We're not talking about consumer use, which gets most of the attention, but processes and technologies that will affect how design engineers design products and how manufacturing engineers make them. For now, the biggest industries are still aerospace and medical, while automotive and architecture continue to grow.
More and more -- that's what we'll see from plastics and composites in 2015, more types of plastics and more ways they can be used. Two of the fastest-growing uses will be automotive parts, plus medical implants and devices. New types of plastics will include biodegradable materials, plastics that can be easily recycled, and some that do both.
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