As terms like “cryptocurrency” and “The Internet of Things” make their way into the lexicon, and Bloomberg issues daily reports on soaring/crashing “Bitcoin” share prices, we forget what a novel concept 3D Printing was just a few years ago and may still be for many.
Yet 3D Printing is how businesses and manufacturers in the lower Hudson Valley are discovering they can quickly prototype their designs to test them, or, staying current with worldwide manufacturing trends, actually create a finished product.
T-SEC, a Hudson Valley-based 501c-3, with a focus on economic development and job creation, has been at the forefront of understanding and anticipating business trends and needs like 3D Printing.
T-SEC purchases and makes high-tech equipment available to partner organizations at SMARTT Labs* located throughout the Hudson Valley.
Who are its partners? Manufacturers and businesses and a Consortium of SUNY Community Colleges located in the Hudson Valley, just like SUNY Rockland and Helen Hayes Hospital.
The Haverstraw Center and its 3D Print SMARTT Lab
One of T-SEC’s first forays into 3D Printing was the establishment and fit-up of a SMARTT Lab at SUNY Rockland Community College’s The Haverstraw Center, located in Haverstraw, N.Y.
Located on the second floor of The Haverstraw Center, T-SEC’s 3D Printing Lab offers manufacturers and entrepreneurs a prototyping “sandbox” where they can evaluate, customize, and expedite inventions and ideas by printing them using available 3D printers.
The Haverstraw Center is in a handsomely renovated old industrial building in downtown Haverstraw.
The Lab also supports the CAD (computer-assisted design) design certificate program requiring two semesters at Rockland Community College (RCC), and most recently, RCC’s “Middle Skills” certificate program The Middle Skills Academy.
The Middle Skills Academy program was created to give students the chance to quickly (around 8 weeks time) earn a certificate that will help them obtain employment immediately upon completion.
RCC students in either program receive training on SolidWorks, the CAD file-creation program needed to print a 3D object.
Students also use T-SEC’s on-site suite of, state-of-the-art Stratasys printers.
Stratasys printers are high-end, enterprise-level machines, and Haverstraw’s half-a-million- dollar, 3D Print Lab boasts several of them.
Notably, the lab features the Stratasys J750, a premium machine with the ability to offer full-color printing.
The J750 does so using multiple materials and accommodating complex geometries. It’s something conventional consumer printers simply can’t match.
Assistive Technology and 3D Prototyping A Perfect Match
T-SEC and The Haverstraw Center are intentionally cultivating an emerging business model: 3D Printing for the Medical Field, specifically Assistive Technology.
People with disabilities often need assistance so that ordinary things that are taken for granted in everyday life are made accessible.
What Assistive Technology Does
For example, someone with a compromised limb in need of a way to open a door, or someone with a severe spinal injury who can only move their eyes, require custom solutions merely to move through their day successfully.
A subset of physical therapy known as Assistive Technology uses technology to help people with severe disabilities function.
Helen Hayes Hospital (HHH) located down the road from The Haverstraw Center in Haverstraw, New York, is owned and operated by the New York State Department of Health and is a member of the New York-Presbyterian Regional Hospital network.
Working with Helen Hayes Hospital: An Assistive Technology Collaboration
Helen Hayes is an emerging leader in Assistive Technology offering pioneering products, services, care and education for patients who rely on Assistive Technology in their daily lives.
Staffed with mechanical engineers and physical therapists certified in Assistive Technology, the Helen Hayes Hospital Arnold Goldman Center for Assistive Technology works with patients across a spectrum of injury and disability.
Hospital’s Technologists desire to create solutions limited only by time and cost
The passion of the HHH care team to help patients overcome disabilities is limited only by the time and cost involved in creating an assistive device that is designed and built for a user’s specific needs. Clearly, the Center is pushing the technological envelope where the Internet of Things (IOT) and Assistive Technology meet, creating smart environments and smart devices through technology.
T-SEC, The 3D SMARTT Lab at the Haverstraw Center, and Helen Hayes Hospital form a partnership.
When T-SEC President Carl Meyer learned of the Helen Hayes program he arranged to meet with the head of its machine shop, electro-mechanical design engineer, Frank Lambert, and a lead Helen Hayes Hospital (HHH) rehab technologist, Tammy Goedken, to explore ways in which the 3-D technology could help them better respond to the specific needs of each patient.
Lambert prototypes devices that tear down the barriers that the disabled face, and he was eager to explore doing so in a 3D environment. Tammy Goedken (who has subsequently moved into full-time work elsewhere but still consults with HHH) works with Helen Hayes Hospital patients to fit them with technological solutions like eye-tracking and hand control devices to make everyday life easier to negotiate.
Meyer thought the Haverstraw Center’s 3D Printing SMARTT Lab would be a perfect fit for Hayes’ Assistive Technology team, and after an initial meeting with the HHH Lab team, his suggestion that HHH consider doing a pilot program prototyping Assistive Technology devices was met with enthusiasm by both the hospital and the school.
“This project provides a tremendous opportunity to utilize T-SEC’s grant-funded equipment to forge a collaborative working relationship between SUNY RCC and HHH, enabling the HHH project team to quickly and cost-effectively create custom devices that provide a higher level of patient care to make their lives a little bit better,” said Meyer.
By partnering with the Haverstraw Center’s SMARTT Lab, the hospital team can test drive the equipment by prototyping many Assistive Technology solutions for their patients easily, quickly, and efficiently.
Meyer also knew that to successfully forge this and other partnerships, a dedicated CAD designer would need to be hired as part of the SMARTT Lab’s team.
After an interview with Joseph Gordon, T-SEC’s engineering consultant (Gordon has great technical expertise and a long history of working with 3D printers and CAD prototyping programs in the semi-conductor industry) it was agreed: Min was the right hire
Meyer secured grant funds to make the hire happen and quickly.
Designing and prototyping from nature
Min takes a unique industrial design approach to creating and designing solutions. What is that? He looks to nature for design.
After billions of years of evolving solutions to problems, nature has become pretty good at describing optimal ways of meeting design challenges, for the long haul, and this approach has been used by Min when prototyping for HHH.
If you are interested in exploring whether your idea and design might be prototyped using the 3D Print Center, please don’t hesitate to call Eric Masbad, who manages the 3D Print Center at Haverstraw.
Contact Information for the Haverstraw Center
Interim Coordinator: Eric Masbad
37 West Broad Street (corner of Maple Ave.) Haverstraw, NY 10927
The Haverstraw Center serves the following regions:
• New York Metro area
• The Lower Hudson Valley
The Haverstraw Center primarily services the following industries:
• Industrial Art
• The Creative Arts
*T-SEC has accessed a New York State SUNY 2020 grant, as well as capital funding from Empire State Development to create the unique concept of SMARTT Labs. The acronym stands for SUNY Manufacturing Alliance for Research and Technology Transfer.