R&D Technologies, based in North Kingstown, R.I., employs some of the newest and brightest engineering minds that the New England has to offer through an internship program to help in the next generation 3D printing.
R&D Technologies started out in 2000 as a SolidWorks value-added reseller before transitioning in 2008 to a Stratasys reseller and 3D printing service bureau.
Justin Coutu, president and son of company founder Andrew Coutu, has implemented a robust internship program for the past five years with engineering schools at a number of local universities to employ some of the brightest minds in the area. The Universities included in the program are Johnson and Wales, University of Rhode Island, Brown University, University of New Hampshire, Roger Williams University, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
As a result, R&D employed young engineers from various disciplines such as mechanical, biomedical, electrical, industrial, and civil engineering.
Coutu takes on about two to three interns per semester depending on the workload of the company, the business of which is generally split about 70/30 between its reseller business and service bureau, although at times that number can be reversed.
Customers of the service bureau include from large companies like Burton Snowboards to research and medical institutions in New England. R&D has a mix of Stratasys (FDM and Polyjet) and Solidscape machines in its bureau and works with 140 types of plastics, including ABS, polycarbonate, and nylon.
Coutu, said there are some unique benefits of employing young professionals who come directly from universities and already have a close relationship with new technologies. “If you put a part in front of them, they may not know what it is at first, but give them a day and they will know everything about it, how it works, and how to make it better. It’s exciting and fun,” he said.
According to Coutu, sometimes there is resistance when a young professional is out in the field trying to convince a company that 3D printing can change the way they do business in a positive way.