Local manufacturer nationally recognized for 3-D printing advances

Greg Morris, of Indian Hill, has been named Technology Leader of the Year by IndustryWeek, an online and print publication dedicated to the manufacturing sector based in the Cleveland area. Morris joins a list decorated by well-known names such as General Electric’s Jeff Immelt, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Netscape’s co-founder Jim Clark.

Morris, co-founder of additive manufacturer Morris Technologies Inc., was described by IndustryWeek as the “Unassuming King of 3-D Printing.”

As the October magazine’s cover story, Morris is being recognized for his company’s role in moving 3-D manufacturing from the model shop to the factory floor, said Travis Hessman, IndustryWeek’s associate editor for technology and innovation.

“He’s not the guy inventing the technology. He’s not the technician working on the technology. He’s the guy leading it,” Hessman said. “I don’t think it could have happened under anybody else’s watch.”

Morris Technologies introduced the first direct metal laser sintering machine to North America, allowing parts to be grown from advanced metal materials. When GE acquired Morris Technologies in 2012 and announced it would build a flying jet engine containing a fuel nozzle made using the additive process, it sent a message worldwide that 3-D manufacturing’s day has arrived, Hessman.

“He helped cross that line to viability,” he said.

Morris, his brother Wendell Morris, and Bill Noack co-founded Morris Technologies in 1994 in Blue Ash to do rapid prototyping, now referred to as 3-D printing. Morris Technologies worked with customers to build prototypes, molds and test products, eventually relocating to bigger space in Sharonville. As business grew, sister company Rapid Quality Manufacturing was started in 2007 in West Chester Twp. for 3-D printing production.

Greg Morris is now leader of additive technologies for GE Aviation.

“I think our success that we had was really built on the technical prowess and talent and the efforts of our employees that were very passionate about the technology,” Morris said.

3-D manufacturing is the process of creating a solid object from a digital file, with the computer file specifying the design and dimensions of a good. A machine is programmed to “print” layer upon layer of material until it grows the object from the bottom up.

The “ink” in this kind of printer is a metal powder or plastic that is fused by laser and electron beams.

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