Pro. Katrin Woody is an Assistant Professor (tenure track W2 to W3) for Laser-Based Additive Manufacturing – School of Engineering and Design at the Technical University of Munich, Germany and our Lady in 3D Printing Guest #279!
Katrin, can you briefly tell us about your background and your journey in additive manufacturing?
During my time as a student in 2010, I was first exposed to an Additive Manufacturing (AM) system at my former university. At this time, I was studying plastics and rubber engineering and knew immediately that I was going to pursue my Ph.D. want to do in the area of AM. My Ph.D. During between 2012 and 2017, I immersed myself in the industrial and scientific environment of AM.
After only two years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), I was appointed in 2019 as an Assistant Professor for Laser-Based Additive Manufacturing at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) . I managed to convert my passion into a profession.
I am now able to bring young engineers closer to AM while doing futuristic scientific research, which is great.
To date, what would you say is your biggest achievement in Additive Manufacturing?
An appointment as Assistant Professor of Laser-Based Additive Manufacturing at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) allows me to shape the research environment and educate students with AM-specific skills.
Do you have any (fun or not) stories about your career to share with us?
During my time as a Ph.D. student at the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, I was uncovering a powder bed fusion building process late at night.
Plastic Powder Bed Fusion works with thermoplastic powder, which appears as a white powder. So far, the unpacking of the partcake is mainly done manually, which makes it look like you’re an archaeologist. A student entered the lab and asked me if he could get a little white powder.
I wasn’t sure what the purpose of this question was, but I said: “I’m afraid I can’t give you any of the powder”. He looked a little disappointed when I told him about the real purpose of the powder.
At that time 3D printing was not discussed in the media and the society was not aware of AM processes. This has certainly changed over the years.
What’s the most impressive or impressive use of 3D printing you’ve ever seen?
The impact of 3D printing during the pandemic is very impressive in my opinion.
With the pandemic raging around the world, we are witnessing highly strained health systems, disrupted supply chains and a changing work environment.
The society and the maker community stand together in this difficult time. AM providers, manufacturers and universities voluntarily use their skills to reduce pressure on the supply chain.
In addition, related medical equipment such as respiratory systems, facemasks and other medical equipment were made and connecting hubs established for manufacturers and the medical sector. An architectural 3D printing company in China printed quarantine booths. As can be seen, there were no limits regarding creativity during the crisis.
What advice do you have for women looking to start 3D printing?
Unfortunately, additive manufacturing, like all production technology, is still a male-dominated industry.
The most important piece of advice I can give young women is not to stop being an AM engineer just because the percentage of women in this industry is so small.
In your opinion, how can we encourage more women to get into additive manufacturing?
In my opinion, there is a need to make young women aware about engineering subjects at an early stage of their lives. It is a matter of great concern to me to bring girls and young women closer to the so called Mint themes.
At my old institute, we set up 3D workshops for school children between the ages of 9 and 16. Children were able to design and build their own parts in this workshop using CAD software and additive techniques.
I was amazed to see how quickly and intuitive CAD software became to these young people and how creatively they applied their own parts. To me, this is a perfect example of how gender doesn’t dictate the amount of fun you can have in engineering.
If girls and young women are encouraged to overcome established role models at an early stage and given the opportunity to gain interest in technical subjects, more young women will follow the example to study engineering disciplines and There will be a snowball effect.
Is there something exciting coming up that you would like to tell us about?
We set up exciting new lectures in Additive Manufacturing at TUM throughout the winter and summer semesters for undergraduate and postgraduate students.