Meet Jake: 3D printing product innovation manager, Braskem
Jake’s job is breaking the mold. Well, at least figuratively.
“3D printing is breaking the molds for manufacturing. We’re no longer confined to specific shapes and processes.”
He says 3D printing represents an exciting complement to today’s manufacturing processes, an innovative way to make parts and products.
“What we’re doing here with materials and 3D printing is extremely innovative. When you think of how we’ve used plastics over the last 50 years, we’ve always had to create a mold that’s defined the shape of the product we want to make. Now with 3D printing, we’ve unlocked any shape we could imagine.”
3D printers build products by adding layer upon layer of material, such as plastics, controlled by computer programs. It’s a burgeoning manufacturing process that builds on society’s evolution toward sustainability.
“Sustainability and innovation are key to 3D printing or additive manufacturing as it’s known. For some parts, instead of taking a block of material and machining down to get our final parts, we additively can place material only where we need it, generating much less waste throughout the process, creating a more sustainable product.”
Jake sees 3D printing as a big part of his future. That’s why he jumped at the opportunity when Braskem started its 3D printing division.
“I’m the 3D printing product innovation manager at Braskem. Every day I wake up getting to do what I love. Being part of the team that’s building the manufacturing process for the future, that’s helping develop the materials for the future of that business. That’s really rewarding.”
Meet Jake. One of America’s Change Makers.
3D printing can create solutions that are not widely available today, says Jake.
“3D printing enables us to answer society’s needs immediately, without having to wait to ship parts across the world. We can now send digital files to produce on site locally as demand is needed. So, 3D printing is going to enable us to have more sustainable supply chains.”
An innovative example? The medical field.
“Prosthetics are a major application for 3D printing. When you think about every individual’s unique prosthetic needs, 3D printing is a great process to help address those needs in a way that is scalable. If we thought about making a mold for every prosthetic device, that would be time intensive and costly. But with 3D printing, we can produce those parts directly each time for each unique individual.”
3D printing is also about democratization. About helping others around the world break the mold.
“3D printing is basically democratizing the manufacturing process for individuals around the world. No longer are we so restricted by cost or time to produce molds or designs around manufacturing processes. We can directly manufacture parts on $200 printers at home or industrial machines to produce parts immediately.”
Jake is building further on the sustainability contributions of 3D printing by combining durable polypropylene plastic with hi-tech carbon fiber materials that otherwise were destined for the landfill.
“We partnered with a company that’s developed a process to capture carbon fiber that would have gone to landfills. We take that waste stream and use those carbon fibers to reinforce our polypropylene. Carbon fiber combined with polypropylene brings together a unique performance, creating more sustainable products that can be used in a broader range of applications.”
“Taking recycled waste streams and turning those into 3D printing materials to improve the performance of those products…that’s all key to the success of 3D printing in the future.”
He sees 3D printing as a big part of the future of manufacturing.
“The future of 3D printing is around faster processes, stronger parts, more diverse materials, and more sustainable materials.”
In addition to breaking the mold himself, Jake’s proud to be helping mold a more sustainable future for his two sons.
“We have a 3D printer at home. I try to expose my kids to 3D printing to help create the next generation of manufacturing engineers to take the reins. My boys love to play with the 3D printed parts I make. They don’t necessarily understand the process yet. It’s a toy to them.”
“And that really shows me the success of the process. It’s indistinguishable in most cases from the parts that we make today. They’re very functional parts that can be used all the way from toys to parts on a spaceship that we send to Mars.”
“I’m a plastics scientist. I’m a polymer engineer who gets to play with 3D printers every day. And I’m happy to be playing a part in molding my kids’ future.”
Keep playing, Jake.
We wish Jake and his colleagues continued success.