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Industry Visionaries Lead Opening of New Digital Fabrication Center at [email protected]

SUMMIT2014_Avi2

Avi Reichental delivers the keynote at the Digital Fabrication Summit

To celebrate the opening of our new Digital Fabrication Center at [email protected], on May 6 Potomac organized a grand opening event that included a Digital Fabrication Summit with industry visionaries, a Ribbon Cutting, and a Tour of our state-of-the-art technologies including 3D Printing Maryland equipment.

Potomac CEO Mike Adelstein, who is leading the company into a new era of digital fabrication, opened the day with an inspiring talk entitled Imagine.  “Everyone in this room has at one time or another had an idea,” Mike explained, “and we are here to bring those ideas to life.” Mike expanded upon the Summit’s theme “The Impact of Digital Fabrication on Our Lives” giving real world examples of how Potomac helps groups cure cancer, improve diagnostic testing through new microfluidics devices, create new businesses by building prototypes for innovators and entrepreneurs, and improve STEM education.  He also described the company’s Education Manufacturing Initiative where thousands of dollars of digital fabrication work has been donated to college and universities.  In addition to providing contract services, Potomac is an authorized 3D Systems 3D Printer re-seller, and one of the few re-sellers in the country with trained service technicians based locally to support customers.

We were honored that 3D Systems CEO Avi Reichental provided the Keynote for our Digital Fabrication Summit, which was chaired by the non-profit FabLabHub. He gave examples of the many ways in which people’s lives have been improved by 3D Printing, and what the future holds for the innovative technology. For example, while a perfectly fitting prosthesis is a great medical advancement, a cool 3D Printed design can go a step further and turn a handicap into a sexy fashion statement.

Mr. Reichental’s description of 3D Printing’s potential to lower barriers to market entry for entrepreneurs and spur economic growth caught the attention of Maryland State and local business and government leaders who were in attendance. Here at Potomac we were especially excited by his prediction that in the future manufacturing equipment will become Digital Fabrication machines that integrate 3D Printing with other technologies.

Digital Fabrication Summit to celebrate Potomac's move to UMBC

Digital Fabrication Summit to celebrate Potomac’s move to UMBC

Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, Director of the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms and founder of the MIT-based FabLab Network, is leading digital fabrication research at MIT including Machines that Make Machines and self-assembling 3D Printed materials.  He gave us a synopsis of the impact this work is already having on the world, and a vision of what the future holds. The FabLabs in the Network are also combining technologies in the digital world to improve lives in their widely different communities from inner city Detroit to rural Deer Isle, Maine to Egypt, Spain, and Afghanistan.

Kegan Schouwenburg, founder of Sols, is passionate about the intersection of 3D Printing and good business practice.  Her vision to 3D Print customized orthotics in a way that is beautiful, efficient, and affordable is one of the most practical and comprehensive business models we’ve heard in the 3D Printing space!

Following a welcome by the [email protected] Research and Technology Park Executive Director, Ellen Hemmerly, Potomac employees cut the ceremonial ribbon.  As a special treat, our colleague and friend Michael Raphael, from Direct Dimensions, 3D scanned our founder Paul Christensen, former President Lori Beer, and Board Chairman Larry O’Donnell. Soon we’ll have 3D Printed busts of them for our gallery!  It is fun to see collaboration of 3D Printing Maryland companies.

The day finished with a Tour of our new facility. We were gratified by all the wonderful colleagues and friends who joined us on the journey [as Mr. Reichental would say] to a time when technology will be impacting our lives in unimaginable ways.