Dr. Elissa Ross, co-founder and CEO of Metafold, the developer of a Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) cloud-based software, spoke with Sharon Spielman, technical editor of Machine Design. They discussed Metafold’s beginnings, the technology behind its computation engine, its impact on key markets and its commitment to sustainability.
In this second of a three-part series, Ross explains that the company exists to help the world's most innovative manufacturing brands leverage additive manufacturing to accelerate their speed of design and production of end use parts. She also talks about the company’s commitment to sustainability.
“What we have come to learn and recognize is that in 3D printing, it’s not enough to be…in a very small box,” Ross says. “Customers are at a variety of different places in their additive manufacturing adoption journey. We need to meet them where they are at. So sometimes that involves just kind of helicoptering in and providing that design and geometry support, and other times that means really working out that combination of design for additive, the material, the process, even the post process. How is it all going to fit together to provide the solution they’re looking for?”
“Where I think added manufacturing has so much potential in the sustainability space is in these process improvements,” Ross says. “It’s in creating those better heat exchangers. Another amazing example is in carbon capture devices…the more surface you put in contact with air, the more carbon you can pull from the air. So, 3D printing and its ability to produce these high-surface area highly optimized structures…[is] where the key potential for highly sustainable impacts [is] for 3D printing.”
To help manufacturers realize these sustainable impacts, Ross says, “We absolutely need better digital tools so that we can plan them and design them and then finally execute them…We like to say that we help our customers become more competitive and more sustainable, because at the end of the day these things go hand in hand.”