Georgia Highlands College

Brugg Helps GHC Purchase 3-D Printer

Doug Ingenthron, president and general manager of Brugg Wire Rope, LLC, presented GHC interim president Renva Watterson with a check for $1,500 to help the institution purchase a three-dimensional printer to enhance creativity, understanding and instruction at the college, and to serve as a recruitment tool to potential students throughout the Rome/Floyd County community.  Brugg Wire Rope will also use the printer to create prototype products, which usually take weeks to months and thousands of dollars to produce through outside vendors.

The venture is an example of the productive partnerships that business and the educational community can create for mutual benefit.  Elijah Scott, director of libraries for Highlands, initially saw huge marketing and instructional potential from such a printer when he attended the Confluence Conference held by the Rome Chamber of Commerce in early 2013, where the technology was introduced to the audience. 

He said that he can see many student applications for the printer.  “For example,” he stated, “Nursing students can create their own models for anatomy class, and take them home to study.  Art students can see what their sculpture might look like.  Chemistry students can create atoms and molecule structures, and astronomy students might create solar systems.  The three-D representation will enhance both interest and learning.  And students will have a great time bringing their ideas to life.”  The new printer will be installed in the library on the Floyd campus, and will be available to both GHC and community members at no charge. 

Scott also said he believes the printer will generate excitement for the many children who visit campus through the middle school program Fabulous Friday and the summer Foundation Camp.  One of the goals of those programs is to inspire children to see that higher education is far from dull, tedious and boring.  Many of the children who come to campus through these outreach programs would never otherwise be exposed to the many possibilities that a college education affords.  They are exposed to disciplines and activities they did not know existed – some of which spark their imaginations and jumpstart their curiosity and desire for knowledge and learning.

Ingentron agreed, saying, “Our hope is for this three-D printer to inspire creativity and technical know-how to a much broader segment of the local community.”

The three-D printer certainly counts as a creative wonder.  Rather than ink, the machine uses 1.75 millimeter ABS plastic filaments to build three dimensional objects.  Users can choose from 24 different colors, though only two at a time can be used to print.  The image/object is built in layers on a flat tray, which drops slowly so that each layer can be built atop the previous one. 

Objects are printed from either user-designed CAD programs or readymade designs from other software such as Thingiverse.  The objects can be practical, too.  Thingiverse shows lemon juicers, cable clamps, pencil holders and jewelry among the items its programs can create. 

The GHC and Brugg Wire Rope team chose the MakerBot Replicator 2X after visiting John Grout, dean of the department of Management at Berry College.  Dr. Grout runs a lab with five different types of three-D printers, and demonstrated their capabilities to the BWR and GHC representatives.  The MakerBot purchase will cost $2,790, and GHC expects it to be delivered and installed in mid-October. 

Brugg Wire Rope specializes in the production of elevator ropes. BWR is one of only two companies in the United States who produce this specific product. Brugg Wire Rope is part of the international Brugg Group, which consists of five divisions with 44 companies in 19 countries.  Three Brugg companies are located in Rome; Brugg Wire Rope, Brugg Pipe Systems and Brugg Cables.

Holly Hodge (center right), chief financial officer at Brugg Wire Rope, LLC, presents a gift to GHC interim president Renva Watterson.  Also pictured are, from left, Raymond Carnley, chief advancement officer at Georgia Highlands; Eliah Scott, director of libraries; Watterson and Hodge; Doug Ingenthron, president and general manager at Brugg; and Martin Rhiner, Brugg's vice president of engineering.

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