3D printing has revolutionized manufacturing over the last few years. Instead of printing with ink like traditional printers, it prints layers of powdered nylon to create a tangible 3D object. Local company, Tronix3D is helping to make the innovation accessible to the greater Pittsburgh area.
In March of this year, Westmoreland County officials, chamber members, representatives of Westmoreland County Community College, and the Westmoreland County Board of Commissioners gathered to celebrate the grand opening of Tronix3D. In the months since, the company has met successes worthy of the excitement of that day.
Nearly anything you can imagine can be printed today, from reverse engineering parts that are no longer available on the market to creating surprisingly durable and lightweight components used in manufacturing. Tronix3D founders, Buck Helfferich and Kyle Metsger, are using their backgrounds in design, engineering, and manufacturing to develop an educated workforce, satisfied clients, and products they stand behind. “We will support and invest in the constant innovation of this technology as to increase the region’s competitiveness, promote workforce development, and its retention,” said Helfferich.
Tronix3D founders Kyle Metsger and Buck Helfferich
The company has unique goal; help educate their clients and the local workforce on the value of 3D printing. Tronix3D believes that manufacturing can benefit from the technology is constantly improving, leading to reduced costs, driving competition, and solving challenges created in the traditional fabrication process. Additionally, Tronix3D is helping to create an educated workforce to pilot the technology by investing in the region’s talented students.
If you visit Tronix3D, it is not uncommon to see a few young faces. The company is located in Westmoreland County Community College’s Advanced Technology Center (ATC) at RIDC Westmoreland in Mt. Pleasant. ATC offers state-of-the-art labs and classrooms for training a variety of careers in manufacturing and technically-oriented fields, therefore giving Tronix3D access to the aspiring engineers and technicians that attend the school.
Tronix3D is located in Westmoreland County Community College’s Advanced Technology Center, a state-of-the-art facility focused in educating a variety of careers in technology-oriented fields.
Tronix3D actively partners with the college to promote technology-oriented education. Currently, they are working with the school to help develop a curriculum centered around the 3D printing process and its potential. They are also planning to offer internships at the company’s center for the region’s students to get first-hand experience in the field.
Helfferich believes that the industry can benefit from the young talent. As alumni of Westmoreland County Community College and Saint Vincent College, he and Metsger see themselves in the students they work with. “We are both results of the region’s high-quality educational institutions including the grade schools, vocational technical schools, and colleges,” he said.
Not only is the company supporting workforce development, but is also a great model for how companies can partner with the community to help drive Westmoreland County’s growth. The company frequently opens its doors to organizations and individuals to tell their story and talk about the industry.
Recently, students from the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Westmoreland Youth Academy were invited to visit Tronix3D. Students got the chance to tour the facility, see the day-to-day operations in action, and speak with the Tronix3D associates about the industry and their experiences.
The future of 3D printing is bright, and Tronix3D is embracing it. As the technology continues to advance, engineers will be able to create everything from fully functional machines to human transplant organs, even skin and prosthetic limbs. “You’ll be able to print a tool on Mars, use it, grind it up, and then print a fork to eat lunch. On the larger scale, 3D printing robots will print car bodies, bridges in place, homes, and incredibly beautiful art sculptures,” answers Helfferich.
To learn more about Tronix3D visit: www.tronix3d.com