Jeffery DeGrange is the current Chief Commercial Officer at Impossible Objects. Before this, he was Vice President of Business and Application Development for Stratasys. He has spent twenty years at The Boeing Company where he led innovative material and process research and development in the areas of additive manufacturing, reverse engineering and advanced manufacturing. He holds various patents for the direct manufacturing of end-use parts and multiple functional tooling used in military and commercial aircraft programs. While at Boeing, he was a key principle to certify and qualify first ever additive manufacturing material and processes for flight hardware used on the F/A-18 super hornet and the 787 Dreamliner production aircraft programs.
Give us some background on your experience and how it has gotten you this far?
I started with Boeing in 1995. I was working with the Boeing additive team to work on parts that would go on aircrafts. This started in 1999. I feel in love with the field. Then I left Boeing to work for Stratsys to be the VP. I was focusing on the technology for manufacturing purposes. I worked with Stratsys and various companies for 7 years. Then I came and worked with Impossible Objects in 2017. The technology was very interesting and appealing. The parts they were making was so much stronger and lighter. The technology could be scaled up easily as well.
Explain a bit about your day to day at impossible objects?
It has different legs to the stool. Sometimes we are talking to various material suppliers and doing material assessment. We are also talking to companies and how the technology can be used for their purposes. There also is a need for documentation. We have marketing, technical, and business writing that needs to be done. The last leg is introducing and talking to prospective clients.
How are barriers broken for skills on higher level machines?
Society of manufacturing engineers. America Makes is trying to build the educational courses for someone to be a technician. We are building out courses that are needed as well as hands on initiatives. With additive a lot of costs are indeed saved. We can use these saved costs to reinvest in our workers and the community around us.
What are the key verticals that an organization has to consider in terms of transitioning towards an additive manufacturing economy?
I think the cost of equipment and material are so important. Aerospace organizations are at the forefront. The medical industry is then next to consider. Particularly clinical trials are happening quicker with these techniques than traditional techniques. Slower adoption is occurring, but it is happening. I recently became an adviser for the Mayo Clinic in terms of printing and prototyping in terms of surgery.
How important is policy and social infrastructure in terms of the future additive manufacturing economy?
I think that there are some things to be done there in order to streamline the acceptance of these devices. We want to make sure in cases like the medical industry that we have FDA clearance. There needs to be a lot of smart people at a table to streamline certifications in that sense. It is important to deal with this in terms of the FAA and the Internal Department of Defense.