Additive manufacturing in feminine

Autor: David Rodríguez
8 March 2022

As a modern and innovative industry, 3D printing is also one that seeks to reduce the gender gap. Many women are part of it, relegating to the past the belief that technical tasks are reserved for men. The present, then, is to listen to what they have to say, which is a lot and of great value. Today we give voice to several women in our sector, because yes, additive manufacturing is pronounced in feminine.

Nora Toure and Kristin Mulherin, Women in 3D Printing

“”We are increasing the visibility of female leaders in the additive manufacturing industry and encouraging more newcomers to 3D printing technologies”

Women in 3D Printing [1] is a global organisation dedicated to promoting, supporting and inspiring women using additive manufacturing technologies. Nora Toure is its founder and Chairwoman and Kristin Mulherin its President.

Their mission is to empower women in the field of additive manufacturing. To this end, they feature women who contribute to the industry on a weekly basis through a series of stories, interviews and events. In addition, their website has a 3D printing-specific job board. The community now numbers more than 10,000 members from all over the world.

Professionally, Nora Toure is Sales Director at Fast Radius and Kristin Mulherin is General Manager of Powder Bed Solutions at Nexa 3D. [2], [3]

Alba García Miranda, Leitat

“One of the challenges facing the sector is the lack of talent of trained professionals”

She started working in 2016 at HP, in Sant Cugat del Vallés, as an engineer in the 3D printing department. She is currently manager for the 3D printing training area at the Leitat Technology Centre. In addition, she is lecturer in the Master’s Degree in Additive Manufacturing at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), in the 4th year of the degree in Sciences and Technologies Applied to Sport and Fitness (CTEF) at the EUNCET Business School. She also participates in different Industry 4.0 training programmes, such as at the School of Industrial Organisation (EOI). [4]

“It is a booming field due to the benefits it offers us, as it is an essential tool with which we can manufacture parts that are impossible to manufacture with another manufacturing method”.

Beatriz Andújar, Mizar Additive

“Clean technologies, eco-designs and sustainability are the keywords to contribute our bit to the world through additive”

She has been leading the quality and regulatory area at Mizar Additive Manufacturing since 2014, a company dedicated to very specific sectors such as the health and aerospace, in which the quality department has to be solid to guarantee a good product to the market, especially in this innovative technology. [5]

“We are facing a moment where after the crisis derived from the pandemic, the additive manufacturing industry must be a support to lead companies to change“.

She also adds that “factors such as the weight reduction in parts due to the 3D manufacturing process, the use of biocompatible materials, the reduction of stock, the agility of time to market, end to end services and the advisory support that Mizar offers to the industry, are making our customers have savings of up to 40% in production lines, which in the times we are living in is vital to stand out from the competition”.

Pamela Waterman, PADT Inc

“Material choices, which are greatly expanding, along with better and automated post-processing approaches are key to making AM economical across more types of applications”

“I came into additive manufacturing in a very round-about way, although I think that is still a very common occurrence”.

Pamela wanted to be an astronaut, but since at the time women were not allowed into that program, she chose to study Astronomy as the next best thing. During her undergraduate work, she combined two very cool fields of work for her master’s degree: radio astronomy and microwave engineering. Then also realized that she liked hands-on designing and building much more than theoretical work, so she started her career as a microwave engineer.

However, after seven years in manufacturing and prototyping, she also realized she couldn’t keep up with 80-hour workweeks and be the kind of mother she wanted to be. The next phase of her career was structured to be part-time and built on her writing skills, leading her to start a freelance business primarily contributing to Digital Engineering magazine.

In 1997 she was asked to write about a new topic called Rapid Prototyping (later 3D Printing and finally Additive Manufacturing) and she was hooked. “I knew that when the time was right for me to re-enter engineering – as I had been doing eldercare for my mom-, and that it would be my field”.

“Our local community college offered me courses in Properties of Materials, Solidworks CAD Modeling and 3D Printing, plus the opportunity to work part-time in their 3D printing lab. That experience, plus years of interesting networking (meeting people like Nora Toure and Vesna Cota) put me in the right place to finally accept my dream position: 3D Printing Application Engineer at PADT Inc., and I’m now in my fourth year there”. [6]

When asked about the challenges of the filed she states: “some of the challenges from 20 years ago are still present and others have shifted a bit. In the beginning people either had no idea what the technology offered, or believed it was limited to rapid prototyping. Now there’s a new generation that accepts 3D printings as simply another way to produce physical parts, but many people still think of it for prototyping only and need re-educating”.

Finally, she confesses that her favorite AM applications are in the medical field. “I’m an outsider but have been amazed at the continuing improvements. From 3D printed knee replacements (customized to the patient), to full-color surgical pre-planning models, to materials that mimic the behavior of bones and tissue (serving as training models to replace cadaver use), the possibilities are fabulous. I look forward to seeing many more ideas and developments”.

María Carrion Ametller, Addit·ion

“3D printing is here to stay”

She discovered additive manufacturing at university, studying Industrial Design Engineering. A project that formed part of a subject continued after that and won second prize in RESHAPE 17 contest [7]. This opened the door for her to do an internship at the world headquarters of Adidas, in the Digital Creation department, where she immersed herself fully in this increasingly widespread field. Currently, she works at Addit·ion, a studio where she designs products to be produced in 3D printing. [8]

“3D printing opens many doors for us, such as almost total freedom of geometry, improvements in terms of sustainability and gas emissions or product customisation, but it is true that it also has its handicaps. Being something so new and so little widespread (although increasingly so), it is difficult to manage production costs, especially when it comes to long series. Even so, I think this is going to improve exponentially, as more and more companies are joining the 3D industry”.

She concludes, “If you look at the big picture, this is just the beginning. I can’t wait to see what’s to come“.

Joana de Medina, Stratasys

“There are still a lot of challenges, first of all the ecosystem, because it is not enough to print parts, but to implement the right workflow”

She has been with Stratasys since the end of 2018, but discovered the fascinating world of additive manufacturing at the end of 2016 when she had the opportunity to start the French market at HP. “Being a chemical engineer myself, I immediately saw the potential and the interest for the industry in general to master and optimise all the steps in the value chain of a product, to act in an eco-responsible way by reducing the carbon footprint, producing small series locally or customising parts.” In short, breaking paradigms and accelerating innovation towards the industry of the future.

From February 2022, she has taken on the responsibility of developing a completely new market: 3D printing in textiles for the luxury and high fashion markets. The aim is not only to enable designers to create models by integrating 3D printing, but also to industrialise them with limited, customised series and very high added value. [9]

“Design for additive upstream and post-processes downstream using software solutions to manage and secure the blockchain are essential. It is therefore obvious to have trained and qualified professionals, strategic partnerships to streamline and automate a secure manufacturing chain as much as possible and obviously the right materials, certifications, good productivity and an economically viable business model.

She adds: “the main challenge now is to adapt to this sector, which is new to us, to understand it in detail, to develop the right solutions, to establish the right partnerships in order to bring innovation and to reduce the environmental impact of this industry, which is increasingly committed to eco-responsibility, especially with the Fashion Pact [10] and other initiatives. We are now on the right track and it’s exciting,”.

Sandra Quintana Echemendia, Addimensional

“We have to make visible the values, the scope and the impact that this technology can bring to any branch of development”

She graduated in Industrial Design in 2020. Since she was a student, she has been involved with groups of makers, collaborating in the design of small robots and means of protection against the current pandemic, as well as in the prototyping of utilitarian products to be later produced in the ceramics industry. In addition, she has promoted conferences and courses mainly in educational robotics for teenagers, where courses in additive manufacturing and 3D modelling are a must. [11]

She is currently part of Addimensional, the first additive manufacturing company in Cuba and one of the first private SMEs to be approved in her country, where she works as Community Manager.

“Greater dissemination, sustainability and ethics. Digital fabrication is a way to achieve greater interconnection between communities and overcome inequality gaps. The 3D industry should focus on providing answers to a specific problem in any region of the planet, and publish or share them, democratising that knowledge so that others can also replicate that solution or even overcome it”.

She affirms that “it is still visible that there are still more women to be incorporated into the area of science and technology, but there are more of us every day, and this has been possible thanks to many years of struggle for gender equality and more inclusive policies”.

Izaskun Arriaga Armentia, Optimus 3D

“Science is not an easy profession in today’s world, and the constraints are even greater for women. But I like challenges and we work every day to progress”

After studying Technical Engineering in Industrial Design, as well as the Degree in Industrial Design and Product Development (Mondragon Unibertsitatea- Escuela Politécnica Superior), her interest in the sports/bio-health field led her to specialise in Biomedical Engineering in 2013. Since 2016 she has been part of the engineering and research team at Optimus3D and is currently head of medical devices design and manufacturing department . [12]

Optimus3D is dedicated to advanced engineering using additive manufacturing as the main production strategy, collaborating in projects within the automotive, aeronautics/aerospace and bio-health sectors.


[1] Women in 3D Printing

[2] Linkedin Nora Toure

[3] Linkedin Kristin Mulherin

[4] Linkedin Alba García Miranda

[5] Linkedin Beatriz Andújar

[6] Linkedin Pamela Waterman

[7] Reshape 17

[8] Linkedin María Carrion Ametller

[9] Linkedin Joana de Medina

[10] Fashion Pact

[11] Linkedin Sandra Quintana Echemendia

[12] Linkedin Izaskun Arriaga Armentia

David Rodríguez

3D Printing professional. Mining & Energy Engineer B.Sc. Industrial Engineer M.Sc. Believe to make.

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