The technology that is revolutionizing the industry arrived at the University of Aveiro (UA) through its Master’s in Additive Manufacturing. With 100% employability, this training offer aims to provide companies with people capable of creating innovative products through a sustainable and efficient process. The course involves several departments and Paula Vilarinho, director of the master’s degree, guarantees that “it is one of the courses that follow the world we live in now.”
In this master’s degree, almost everything is possible, from printing prostheses for medical applications to components used in the aerospace industry. Also known as 3D printing, additive manufacturing is an increasingly used technology that promises to revolutionize the way objects are produced. This technique allows the creation of three-dimensional objects from digital models, adding materials layer by layer, allowing the creation of complex pieces that would be difficult, or even impossible, to create with traditional methods, explains the teacher. But the advantages of additive manufacturing do not end here. Paula Vilarinho says that this is a “clean, sustainable” technology that “uses less energy”. The possibility of customization is another of its great advantages, as through additive manufacturing it is possible to produce a product tailored “to our needs”. For example, “with the technology of this nature, through a brain scan, we can design and imitate a piece of bone in the material we want” to later implant in the brain of a patient who needs it.
It was the relevance of this technology that led the UA to open the master’s degree dedicated to additive manufacturing. This higher education offer is the responsibility of three organic units – Department of Materials and Ceramics Engineering (DEMaC), Department of Mechanical Engineering (DEM), and Escola Superior Aveiro Norte (ESAN), located close to industrial units – and its integrator character is a distinguishing feature of the course, allowing students to have privileged contact with the industrial environment during training and also allowing contact with different areas. “It is one of the formations that keep up with the world we live in now. A connected world”, says Paula Vilarinho.
This training offer “approaches a technology with a lot of potential and includes training that starts with the material, goes through the process and goes to the design of the parts”, so more and more “companies need” people with this type of training, she adds. Diogo Tocha, one of the first students to attend the course, says that it was the transversality of the Master’s that captivated him. “The diversity of topics” taught, from “sustainability to design”, makes the course stimulating and challenging, he explains. He chose the Course because it encompasses “several innovative technologies capable of changing the market” and expectations were met, providing him with knowledge in several areas such as “design for additive manufacturing”. Currently working in a company producing high-precision plastic components, the former student says that this master’s degree was fundamental in acquiring knowledge that he now applies in the performance of his duties, but also the ability to adapt to the different realities he faces at work.
Carlos Lopes, responsible for digital innovation at the Renault group, says that the interest in this technology stems from the “economic advantage that is obtained in parts that are produced by additive manufacturing”. He adds that with this technology the limit “is the imagination of those who are designing the product” since there are objects that “due to their geometry and/or material, it is only possible to produce using this technique”. In the opinion of Carlos Lopes, this is a technology that could revolutionize the automotive industry because it manages to “quickly respond in the development phase to prototypes, changes in geometry, or ensure, for example, small series or end-of-life products, bringing economic gains for organizations”. In the near future, the Engineer believes that companies will have “hybrid industrial processes, with production lines made up of additive manufacturing equipment, associated with other machining equipment.”.
Considering technology to be so relevant, Renault has annually received students with this training, bringing “knowledge of an area in exponential development” to the organization. Carlos Lopes adds that since investment in this technology has already started, there will be a demand for specialized human resources in the near future in order to respond to this need.
The course program is designed for professionals and students looking for a career or professional development opportunities in a cutting-edge technology field, in order to improve or gain knowledge in the area of additive design and manufacturing. Learning how to create value throughout the life cycle of a product will be one of the skills acquired by those who take this course, which has been available at the UA for about two years.