Media publish UMaine release about $500K grant for Composites Center

Boothbay Register, Wiscasset Newspaper and Penobscot Bay Pilot published a University of Maine news release about a $500,000 Maine Technology Institute grant awarded to the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center. The grant will be used to form a technology cluster to help Maine boatbuilders explore how large-scale 3D printing using economical, wood-filled plastics can give the industry a competitive advantage, the release states. Using 3D printing to fabricate boat molds can reduce production time by as much as 75 percent, according to UMaine researchers, and this can reduce challenges facing small and medium boatbuilders. “The combination of additive manufacturing and cost-effective, bio-filled materials is a potential game-changer for Maine’s boatbuilding industry by reducing the cost of marine tooling by as much as 50 percent,” said James Anderson, senior research and development program manager at the Composites Center. “We have the tools and knowledge to help Maine boatbuilders increase productivity, reduce costs and, ultimately, continue their tradition of excellence in the boatbuilding industry.” Habib Dagher, the executive director of the Composites Center, said, “By 3D printing plastics with 50 percent wood, we aim to produce boat molds much faster and cheaper than today’s traditional methods. As we learn, we will be working with boatbuilders to incorporate 3D printing in their production process for larger boat parts and, eventually, the boats themselves.” The MTI grant will be matched with an equal grant from the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center, according to the release. The technology cluster will include UMaine engineers and researchers, and boatbuilders from throughout Maine. WABI (Channel 5) and 3D Printing Industry also reported on the grant.