SME’s Additive Manufacturing Industry Awards Celebrate Innovation, Skill and Leadership

DETROIT— SME, the professional association committed to advancing manufacturing and developing a skilled workforce, announced the winners of its Additive Manufacturing Industry Awards, which were presented today at RAPID + TCT 2022, North America’s largest and most influential additive manufacturing (AM) event, which runs May 17-19 at Detroit’s Huntington Place.

The awards were presented by SME’s AM Technical Community Leadership Committee and Direct Digital Manufacturing Advisory Team. They produce content for the organization’s programs and other industry events on advanced AM technologies and processes that allow the development, testing and manufacture of new products faster and more cost-effectively. The Additive Manufacturing Industry Awards celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of individuals, teams and companies creating significant impact in commercializing AM.

SME’s AM Technical Community Leadership Committee pre-dates the formation of RAPID + TCT. It originally was created in 1992 by the Rapid Prototyping Association (RPA), which joined the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) one year later to become the Rapid Prototyping Association of SME (RPA/SME). It later was renamed SME’s Rapid Technologies & Additive Manufacturing Community Advisors before eventually becoming what it is today. Its charge has always been to advise the organization on initiatives, activities, policy and strategy related to AM.

Because of this mantra, all three of the awards, which traditionally are presented at RAPID + TCT, are focused on the application of AM technology to production, not just research and development. This year’s Additive Manufacturing Community awards include the following:

AM Industry Achievement Award

Name: Slade Gardner, PhDThe AM Industry Achievement Award, established in 2008, was developed to recognize an individual or team for outstanding accomplishments that have had significant impact in the application of AM in any industry. The award recognizes achievements that have been implemented or deployed in a commercial/industrial environment rather than research investigative work. Winners are selected with consideration for the scope and scale of benefits realized and the potential future impact their work will have on the industry. The 2022 recipient is:

Title: President and Founder

Business Affiliation: Big Metal Additive

Dr. Gardner is recognized for his contributions over a distinguished career for advancing industrial metal additive manufacturing, and for his recent work with large-scale metal-hybrid AM. Throughout his career he has invented, developed, and transitioned materials, equipment, and processes for a multitude of large additive-manufacturing capabilities.

Aubin AM Case Study Award

The “Aubin AM Case Study Award” looks to recognize innovations in application of AM technologies. The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding use cases of AM adoption and implementation and to provide inspiration to others in their journey of AM application. Winning for their topic, “Laying the Groundwork for Industrial 3D-Printed Parts in Oil & Gas Applications,” the recipients are:

  • VELO3D
  • IMI Critical Engineering

Digital Manufacturing Challenge

The 2022 Digital Manufacturing Challenge is a call to action to inspire the next generation of engineers. They are challenged to re-think ways to design, create, and utilize infrastructure-level systems that deploy engineering design and manufacturing solutions to strengthen infrastructure in the response, mitigation and/or prevention of such disruptive and devastating events and envision an optimistic view of healthy, robust, sustainable, smart, agile, peaceful communities. Winning for their topic, “Hybrid Wire-Arc Additive Manufacturing of Topology Optimized Aviation Components,” the recipients from Virginia Tech are:

  • Daniel Chirvasuta
  • Nathanael High
  • Matthew Martin
  • T. Benjamin Nguyen
  • Omkar Shinde
  • Nicolas Tomanelli

Faculty advisors included Christopher Williams, PhD, and PhD student Sam Pratt, with assistance from industry advisor Dan Braley, CAM-T, Associate Technical Fellow & Additive Manufacturing Technical Focal​ of Boeing Global Services​.


For more than 30 years, SME and RAPID have defined the crucial role of additive manufacturing and empowered the establishment of an industry that continues to conceive, test, improve and manufacture new products at a faster, more cost-efficient pace. In 2017, the two industry leaders in 3D technology events, SME and The TCT Group, partnered to produce the annual RAPID + TCT event. For users and suppliers alike, the event is the premier destination for those who provide technology and for those who need to understand, explore and adopt 3D printing, additive manufacturing, 3D scanning, CAD/CAE, metrology and inspection technologies. For more information, visit, follow @RAPID_Event on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

About SME

SME connects manufacturing professionals, academia and communities, sharing knowledge and resources to build inspired, educated and prosperous manufacturers and enterprises. With 90 years of experience and expertise in events, media, membership, training and development, and also through the SME Education Foundation, SME is committed to promoting manufacturing technology, developing a skilled workforce and attracting future generations to advance manufacturing. Learn more at, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or

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