3D Systems CEO Avi Reichental helped Potomac Photonics open a new era of Digital Fabrication at bwtech@UMBC Research and Development Park.
Keynoting a Digital Fabrication Summit that Potomac organized in celebration of the new Center, Reichental expanded upon the symposium’s theme: The Impact of Digital Fabrication on Our Lives. The inspiring talk included examples of the many ways in which people’s everyday lives were improved by 3D Printing. While cool medical applications such as the “sexy” prosthesis 3D Systems has created for amputees, it was the ways in which 3D Printing can lower barriers to market entry for entrepreneurs and spur economic growth that caught the attention of Maryland State and local business and government leaders who were in attendance.
The day was introduced by Potomac CEO and UMBC Alum Mike Adelstein, who is leading the company into a new era of digital fabrication. Founded as an excimer laser and laser micromachining manufacturing and contract services company, Adelstein has expanded the range of contract service offerings to include 3D Printing, micro CNC machining, hot embossing, and advanced quality control and measurement. Potomac is also an authorized 3D Systems 3D Printer re-seller, and one of the few re-sellers in the country with trained service technicians to support customers.
Adelstein’s inspiring talk, entitled IMAGINE, spoke to the many ways in which Potomac’s contract service work helps groups cure cancer, improve diagnostic testing through new microfluidics devices, create new businesses by building prototypes for innovators and entrepreneurs, and improve STEM education. He also described the company’s Education Manufacturing Initiative where thousands of dollars of digital fabrication work has been donated to college and universities. As part of this program, Potomac is conducting joint R&D with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where the new Center is located.
Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, Director of the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms and founder of the MIT-based FabLab Network, spoke about Digital Fabrication advances that are at the center of his group’s work. These included Machines that Make Machines and self-assembling 3D Printed materials. A lively presentation followed by Kegan Schouwenburg, founder of Sols, who ispassionate about the intersection of 3D Printing and good business practice. Her vision to 3D Print customized orthotics in a way that is beautiful, efficient, and affordable seems clearly achieveable given her concrete analysis combined with boundless energy!
Following a welcome by the bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park Executive Director, Ellen Hemmerly, the ceremonial ribbon was cut by Potomac employees. Perhaps most fun of all was a tour of the Potomac Digital Fabrication center that includes all manner of CNC machines, lasers, 3D Printers, software, and measurement tools.
It was a day that saw a glimpse into what people are calling the next industrial revolution. And Potomac Photonics is leading digital fabrication toa time when technology will be impacting our lives in unimaginable ways.