HomeNews & PublicationsPress ReleasesJohns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Establishes Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence  

February 24, 2016

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Establishes Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence



Johns Hopkins APL in Laurel, Maryland, has established a center of excellence to guide major advances in additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3-D printing. Credit: JHU/APL
the build chamber of the metal powder bed fusion additive manufacturing system
The view inside the build chamber of APL’s metal powder bed fusion additive manufacturing system, where a high-power laser is transforming fine metal powder into complex, solid metal parts, one thin layer (40 micrometers) at a time. Credit: JHU/APL.

the metal powder bed fusion additive manufacturing system
APL’s metal powder bed fusion additive manufacturing system, which is used for part production and research and development in support of APL’s DoD, space and intelligence community programs. Credit: JHU/APL.

An Additive Manufacturing Engineer checks the progress of complex metal parts being fabricated inside APL’s metal powder bed fusion additive manufacturing system
Additive Manufacturing Engineer John Slotwinski checks the progress of complex metal parts being fabricated inside APL’s metal powder bed fusion additive manufacturing system. Credit: JHU/APL.

Building on its substantial advanced mechanical fabrication capabilities, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, has established a center of excellence to guide major advances in additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3-D printing.

The center will guide APL efforts to creatively apply this disruptive technology, which is rapidly revolutionizing how a wide variety of parts and systems are designed and built. The profound transformation caused by additive manufacturing is being accompanied by a wave of research on new materials, the potential integration of electronics into devices as they are made, the printing of biological structures and the emergence of nano-engineering.

The center will initially focus on significant technical challenges that are currently preventing more widespread adoption of additive manufacturing technologies in the Defense Department and also on topics of interest to the intelligence community. Other future initiatives will include printed microelectronics and bioprinting. APL plans to serve as a leader in these important areas.

“For many years, we have been at the forefront of advanced manufacturing technology,” said Jim Schatz, who leads APL’s Research and Exploratory Development Department. “The investments we are making in additive manufacturing will place us among the leaders in this area nationally, and allow us to rapidly develop and deliver game-changing capabilities to our government sponsors.”

The center will engage in the following activities:

  • Additive manufacturing design and fabrication services for prototypes and limited volume runs, in support of sponsor programs
  • Research on new design and fabrication methods, and new materials for additive manufacturing
  • Research on the characterization, testing and evaluation of additive manufacturing processes
  • Exploring the innovative applications of embedded electronic circuits
  • Pioneering the use of additive manufacturing in the creation of biological parts and organs
  • Serving as a trusted agent for additive manufacturing test and evaluation
  • Serving as a trusted advisor on application of additive manufacturing in Department of Defense and intelligence community projects

The new center builds on APL’s expertise and capabilities in metal and polymer additive manufacturing, mechanical design, materials science, physics, intelligent systems and bioengineering. The Lab plans to invest in additional powder bed fusion and hybrid additive-subtractive systems.

The center will also collaborate with other organizations in the Hopkins Enterprise, including the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, to leverage their expertise and provide potential research opportunities for students.

Media contact: Paulette Campbell, 240-228-6792, paulette.campbell@jhuapl.edu

Technical contacts: Todd Ramsburg, todd.ramsburg@jhuapl.edu; John Slotwinski, john.slotwinski@jhuapl.edu

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.