US President Joe Biden has awarded the National Medal for Technology and Innovation to Charles ‘Chuck’ Hull of 3D Systems. The award recognises Hull’s work helping to launch the Additive Manufacturing industry through his invention of stereolithography, some forty years ago.
Established in 1980, the National Medal for Technology and Innovation is the United States’ highest honour for technological achievement. It is awarded by the President of the United States for exceptional contributions. The medal is given to individuals, teams (up to four individuals), companies, or divisions of companies that have significantly contributed to America’s economic, environmental, and social well-being.
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In a video by The National Science and Technology Medals Foundation, Chuck Hull explained that his invention was borne of a need to prototype more efficiently. When working for a company which used UV light to harden tabletop coatings, prototypes were manufactured using plastic injection moulding, a process Hull found “really tedious.” Three years later, Hull had found an answer to this problem with the creation of the polymer stereolithography process. From there, Hull co-founded 3D Systems to market the technology.
Today, 3D Systems is a leading polymer and metal Additive Manufacturing solutions provider, offering hardware, software, materials, and services to its customers in healthcare and industrial markets such as aerospace & defence, automotive, and durable goods.