ITEN Provides 3-D Printing Experience

ASHTABULA, Ohio – A new partnership between ITEN Industries Inc. and Kent State University Ashtabula and Tuscarawas campuses will give students hands-on experience in 3D printing.

Starting in the fall, the Kent State Tuscarawas engineering technology program will offer eight new courses through its College of Applied and Technical Studies, including engineering drawing principles, 3D modeling introduction, polymers and manufacturing processes.

In addition to the new curriculum, Ashtabula County Technical & Career Center (A-Tech) students can take advantage of working with new 3D printing equipment courtesy of ITEN. The 100-year-old manufacturer of thermoplastic and thermoset stamped, molded and machined plastic components recently purchased new 3D printing equipment, including a JuggerBot 3D Tradesman Series F3-32 filament fabrication system, a JuggerBot P3-44 and a pellet extrusion machine.

“We’re looking at the future of our workforce and the transition of industry in Ashtabula County,” says Ron Emery, business development director at ITEN. “The direction of engineering technology and future success is in 3D printing and our goal is to drive internship and engineering experience in that area.”

With new technology and innovation comes a considerable learning curve to getting good results with different processes and models, Emery says. Coming into the industry with prior 3D manufacturing education and experience has significant and measurable advantages.

Students who enter Kent’s engineering technology program can earn associate degrees in electrical/electronic engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology and technical modeling design, as well as a bachelor’s degree offering several engineering technology concentrations.

The 3D printing program is the first step in developing a certificate or stackable credential in 3D printing and manufacturing that would transition into the associate and ultimately bachelor’s degree programs.

“3D printing is an emerging field that people are really interested in,” said Michael Czayka, engineering senior lecturer for Kent State. “ITEN is positioning themselves as a leader in this field and it’s exciting to work with a local company as an institution to provide a pathway to education in a field that is hot and in-demand right now.”

Iten produces more than 215 components monthly and has heavily invested in 3D printing and advanced computer numerical control equipment, Emery says.

“These new machines allow us to rapidly prototype parts for customers so they are able to look and feel how a product may look when we are helping the customer conceive a product,” said Devin Curtis, a quality engineer at ITEN. “We’ve also used the machine to make custom jigs for some of our smaller injected molded parts so they can be measured with our digital comparator, which allows us to speed up the process of measuring parts for our quality checks.”

The equipment opens new possibilities outside of manufacturing as well, Curtis said, including the medical, surgical and prosthetic industries.

“We’re on the verge of an industrial revolution, as this technology opens up these possibilities for anyone,” he said. “All it takes is one to have an idea and run with it.”

Pictured: Iten Industries Tool & Dye Maker Chip Bojanowski trained A-Tech senior Dale Dehn, who has started working at the plant after serving an internship through the A-Tech’s Work Based Learning Program.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.