From Research to Revolution
Pierre Devaux is a veteran engineering education advocate currently serving as Senior Director, Worldwide Education Sales at SPEE3D.
It’s been about a month since I joined SPEE3D, so this is probably a good time to introduce myself.
I’m Pierre Devaux, and I’ll be leading the company’s efforts in the education and academic research space. And while I’m new to the company, I’m not new to the vertical. In fact, I spent the last three years at a different additive manufacturing company, and the 15+ years before that in the CAD industry.
In each of these roles, I worked exclusively with academic institutions.
Today, my focus is building on what SPEE3D has already started to accomplish with our academic partners, and to expand the reach of our technology into new applications and cutting-edge research.
If there’s anything that stands out at the company so far, it’s the simplicity of our mission: making manufacturing easier. Because it implies something that, after 30-something years in this ecosystem, is painfully obvious:
Manufacturing is not easy.
My journey in design, engineering, and manufacturing started while at university, when I was involved with three different student competitions: Mini Baja (now Baja SAE), Mini Indy (now Formula SAE), and Sunrayce ’93.
Despite having access to the best tools available at the time, the whole thing was a grind.
PC-based 2D CAD was clunky and awkward. 3D CAD running on IBM RS/6000 workstations was insanely complex and buggy. 3D printing, or “stereolithography” as it was called at the time, was too slow and too expensive, not to mention totally unsuitable for making usable parts.
Long story short, the best tools just weren’t good enough.
But over the next couple of decades, the world witnessed massive leaps in technology and accessibility: PC-based 3D CAD with SOLIDWORKS, FDM 3D printers in every design studio and classroom, affordable benchtop CNC machines in high schools, community maker spaces and fab labs, drastically simplified FEA and CFD analysis tools (ANSYS, COSMOS), hobbyist resin 3D printers—the list goes on.
I would’ve killed for these capabilities!
And yes, they’ve made things, in many respects, a heck of a lot easier. But we can’t take our foot off the gas just yet.
There’s much more to do, especially when we’re dealing with metal.
Today, SPEE3D is giving manufacturers the ability to 3D-print large metal parts at surprisingly fast speeds. The technology works and the process is relatively simple, but some of the long-term data isn’t quite there yet. Which is to say, the innovation is still in its infancy.
That’s where academia comes in.
Academia has the opportunity to dramatically accelerate the adoption of Cold Spray Additive Manufacturing (CSAM) by testing and validating the technology across different materials and applications.
The research opportunities are almost endless, the variations unlimited!
So my personal mission at SPEE3D is to work with academic partners who value the openness, flexibility, low operating costs, and speed of CSAM to broaden access to the technology—especially in remote areas of the world where manufacturing large metal parts is particularly hard.
Together, we’ll institute workforce development programs that key educational institutions are already planning in their respective regions. And together, we’ll make manufacturing metal faster, more flexible, more affordable, more environmentally responsible, and yes, easier.
If that sounds like something you’re interested in working on, please reach out to me at pierre.devaux@SPEE3D.com. I look forward to working with you!