The Center for Additive Manufacturing and Multifunctional Printing (AMPrint) at Rochester Institute of Technology is showing what’s possible outside the traditional bounds of 3D printing.
AMPrint, a NYSTAR-backed Center for Advanced Technology, is among the world’s first research centers to focus on multifunctional printing—that is, looking at ways to fabricate not only mechanical parts, but also pieces that require electrical, thermal, optical, magnetic, biological, or chemical functionality.
Recently, AMPrint has stepped up to help New York State in its COVID-19 response. In the early days of the pandemic, AMPrint 3D printed, laser cut, assembled, and distributed hundreds of face shields.
AcuteKids Urgent Care in Monroe County was one of the recipients of AMPrint’s face shields. AcuteKids was in dire need; without the PPE, it may have had to temporarily stop treating patients.
At nearby Rochester Regional Hospital, an acute shortage of face masks meant that employees had to wear emergency masks at times. To test the effectiveness of the emergency PPE, AMPrint designed, 3D printed, and distributed 80 nebulizers, which were used to test the seal of the masks on hospital employees.
AMPrint also collaborated with RIT’s Center of Excellence in Advanced and Sustainable Manufacturing (COE-ASM), which was working on an emergency ventilator design. AMPrint 3D printed the complex parts needed to test the functionality of the design. It then worked with Stratasys—the world’s largest 3D printer manufacturer—to fast-track FDA testing and approval of one of their 3D printing materials for use in the ventilator.
In addition to COVID response, AMPrint has also been working with the New York-based Defense Innovation Lab (DiLab) and R3 Printing in the design, prototyping, and testing of an advanced extrusion-based 3D printer. The innovations brought about by this collaboration are expected to result in scalable, on-demand, and faster-than-industry-standard printing, while ensuring optimization for defense logistics operations as well as commercial manufacturing.
“We are incredibly excited to work with the AMPrint Center for the development of the R3 Printer,” DiLab’s Tommy Hendrix said in a statement announcing the initiative. “Empire State Development has a great team and we’re honored to work with them and their network in helping New York defense startups.”
AMPrint and COE-ASM are both innovation assets within the NYSTAR network.
For years, New York State has been investing in and building out its innovation infrastructure through NYSTAR, Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation. NYSTAR oversees a robust, statewide network that provides innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders with access to the support they need to solve challenges and keep growing, even during periods of downturn. There are over 70 NYSTAR-backed centers across the state that are actively working to generate technology-driven economic growth.