Dr. Brent Stucker spent years at the University of Louisville researching the emerging field of additive manufacturing — “printing” products with metal, plastic and other materials.
Through collaboration with colleagues around campus, that research resulted in a modeling software for manufacturers to help them optimize and improve efficiency.
It also resulted in 3DSIM, a startup he and his UofL co-inventors founded to commercialize the technology. That company was just acquired by engineering simulation company, ANSYS Inc.
“For me, it’s great to have had the opportunity to continue what I’ve been doing in academia and help industry leverage additive manufacturing technology,” said Stucker, now with ANSYS as director of additive manufacturing. “It wouldn’t have been possible without the University of Louisville.”
While building the software and getting it to market, Stucker and his co-inventors, Drs. Deepankar Pal and Nachiket Patil, worked with many service centers and offices at UofL, including within the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation (EVPRI). The Office of Technology Transfer, for example, helped protect the intellectual property.
“It was some leading-edge technology in an upcoming field,” said Matthew Hawthorne, the technology’s licensing officer and UofL’s Director of Industry Engagement. “These were ideal inventors with an ideal product.”
Working together, they set up an agreement to license the invention to 3DSIM, with Dr. Stucker at the helm as CEO. The company continued to work with their UofL colleagues to develop the software products and test them at the UofL Rapid Prototyping Center, which works with researchers and industry on additive manufacturing projects.
“We use their (3DSIM’s) software, and they leverage our years of experience in additive manufacturing,” said Tim Gornet, the center’s manager of operations. “We always prefer partnerships and collaborations. Our familiarity with them made it easy.”
After years of development, Pittsburg-based ANSYS Inc. discovered 3DSIM and bought it in late 2017. Since the acquisition, the former 3DSIM team has been integrated with ANSYS development, which has recently released the tools as part of its simulation software suite. And today, ANSYS is continuing its partnership with UofL and is discussing new collaborations.
Dr. Robert Keynton, interim EVPRI, said 3DSIM’s development — drawing on many resources and experts around campus — is an example of the collaborative, entrepreneurial spirit at UofL.
“In research and innovation, we accomplish a lot more when we work together,” he said. “And in this case, it’s especially rewarding to see that these inventors have had so much success, and that their collaboration with UofL continues.”