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County backs 3-D printing for economic development

November 05, 2013

Some Wall Street analysts speculate that the market for 3-D printing equipment and services will see a threefold increase by 2018. If it does, Howard County, Md. businesses will have no excuse for not being prepared.

SpeedRead-3dprinting.pngThe Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) recently launched 3D Maryland to help local and state businesses learn about and use the technology — and give them a competitive advantage. The county has allocated $500,000 to the EDA over two years to fund staff, equipment and startup costs for the effort.

3-D printing, also known as “additive manufacturing,” creates three-dimensional objects by building layer upon layer using materials such as plastics, metals and even sand.

“I asked our team in economic development, let’s break out of the normal mold of economic development, where typically we give grants or incentives for [businesses] who move to Howard County,” County Executive Ken Ulman said.

“I really challenged the team to say … where are the gaps that the public sector can come in with some resources, with some tools that would really be a spark for the private sector, and we kept coming back to, among other things, this evolution of 3-D printing and 3-D manufacturing.”

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