GM Looks to U-M, Others for Innovation in 3-D Printing


General Motors’ manufacturing team will tap college talent and innovation through a competition — open to students at schools including the University of Michigan — that kicks off next Monday.

The GM Innovation Challenge asks students at four major universities to participate in a fast-paced competition Oct. 6 that aims to develop ways to use technologies such as 3-D printing and augmented reality (devices similar to Google Glass) on the factory floor.

“This challenge is one of multiple things GM is doing around the world to change the perception that manufacturing employs old-world techniques to build vehicles,” says Kurt Wiese, GM’s vice president of global manufacturing engineering. “In fact, many new and emerging technologies that are often viewed as fads have practical applications in a factory.”

As part of the competition, teams at each of the participating schools — including Georgia Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology — will present their concepts to a team of GM judges the week of Nov. 3.

The winning team from each school will travel to Detroit for the finals on Nov. 17-18, where each of the students on the overall winning team will be awarded $1,000 and an internship at GM during the summer of 2015.

“GM employees around the world already look at unconventional tools, technologies, and processes, and how they can be applied in our factories,” says Jeffrey Motala, manager of vehicle systems integration at GM, referring to how Google Glass is used to train paint shop employees at the Orion Assembly plant. “By challenging college students to do the same, we hope to demonstrate the possibilities that await them if they choose a career in manufacturing.”

The deadline for student registration is 10 p.m. Friday. For more information, click here.