Posted:September 24, 2021
Century College student Tyler Knudtson is in the right place at the right time, and sees unlimited opportunities in his chosen career field. "I feel I’m uniquely positioned for the future. Additive and Digital Manufacturing is here to stay, and will continue to grow--permeate into every industry--and not just in the manufacturing sector," Tyler says, "I’m happy to immerse myself in the opportunities that Century's Applied Technology Center has."
Tyler, a Minnesota native who served in the US Marine Corps as a combat engineer, has always had a strong mechanical aptitude, and intuitively knows how to work with machines. Shortly after he began taking his General Education courses at Century, he met with Advisor Janet Wacker, who listened carefully to him, and then suggested that he look into the ADM program. Now in his second year at Century, Tyler is glad he chose ADM. "The Additive space will grow rapidly in the next 10 years. It's an emerging and disruptive technology that will continue to expand," Tyler notes.
ADM and The Dental Field
During the summer of 2021, Tyler worked for Certified Dental Ceramics in Eagan, MN. He found the position by strategically searching for jobs with ADM in the description. Tyler loved the work. "Dentistry has experienced massive growth in terms of reliance on technology, machines, and digital workflow," Tyler observes, "ADM instructor Randy Jasken says that most additive parts will be able to fit in your hand, and 3D printing/additive is perfect in terms of dental, where they rely on models. The models are traditionally cast from the patient's impression, using stone. Then, the stone model is scanned in order to begin designing the restoration using CAD. An increasing number of cases are being sent to the Lab in a completely digital way using intraoral scans.
"The Lab added more machines, and went from one to two 3D printers and five milling machines. It was my job to run the mills as efficiently as possible and print quality models. I loved the process. The materials have come a long way as well. There's a broad range of design tools to create the tooth. You can have different shades, colors, milled in mechanical mills with various materials."
Tyler adds, "I loved my time there--the work, my co-workers, and I learned a lot."
The Importance of Education
Tyler knows that education is important, as is a strategic approach to choosing a career. He didn't want to take on debt and mortgage his future by going to college right after high school. Thanks to his military training and service, and the GI bill, his Century College education is nearly debt-free. He's currently focusing on his coursework full time, and may consider transferring to a four-year university to pursue further education in ADM when he graduates from Century.
"Education shows a lot about the individual, and it shows employers that you are reliable and that you can complete a task," Tyler notes. He's also astute in recognizing that he's at the beginning of a new era in manufacturing (and beyond), and he knows that the ADM field is now where the computer industry was in the early 1980s--set to change the workforce.
"Machines will get more complex and more compact," Tyler says. "I cannot wait to get into Century College's new Applied Technology Center space, spend all day and create new things." He knows that the ADM program offers the possibility of cross-collaboration with other Century programs, such as prosthetics, and Tyler looks forward to finding new solutions to old design challenges. "I'm happy that I chose Century College and had the opportunity to join the ADM program because of its future prevalence in manufacturing.
“ADM is unique in the ability to bring concepts to reality very quickly.”
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