By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Tinker Air Force Base officials believe advanced manufacturing is a critical tool in maintaining the nation’s air power.
The new processes can speed up production and reduce costs to produce critical aircraft and engine components.
The Air Force has enlisted help from Rose State College for research and workforce development in the critical area of advanced manufacturing.
Last week, Tinker and Rose State signed an education partnership agreement at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex at Tinker AFB. Brig. Gen. Brian Moore, commander of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, and Jeanie Webb, president of Rose State College, and Col. Abby Ruscetta, 72nd Air Base Wing Commander, attended the signing ceremony.
Students at Rose State will use 3D printers to learn about the field and potentially future careers at Tinker. Webb said they’ve been working with 3D printers for several years, but this is a more advanced application.
“We’re about preparing students for the future,” said Webb said. “They have provided a 3D printer that we’ll be teaching the class on. We’ll have students ready to directly come to work for the base.”
Moore said the lessons that students learn in the classroom will directly correlate to what they’re doing on the base.
“It’s a big deal when we are working on research with the schools and translating that to production here in the depot,” Moore said.
Finding parts for many older aircraft has become difficult. Tinker personnel use 3D printers to design and create parts which can later be easily fabricated. Moore said Rose State College is an ideal partner for both this research and development.
“We need academic institutions like Rose State to help us kind of cross the at Rubicon to that next technology layer and get to that manufacturing capability,” he said.
Webb said they’re honored and excited to help in the mission.
“There is no time in history, in my opinion, that it’s more important that we have people prepared and that we’re able to provide parts and needs that Tinker has,” she said.