Haleyanne Freedman is the global 3D printing engineering specialist at M. Holland. She got her start in industrial manufacturing working for a machine tool importer managing its 3D printing department. Haleyanne has since developed in-depth knowledge and expertise in 3D printing through her professional work as well as her time working and experimenting with her home printing lab. She is well-versed in multiple CAD programs and received a certification in Additive Manufacturing Polymers and Metals from MIT.
Haleyanne leads M. Holland’s Additive Manufacturing group and advises clients on equipment and product selection, process optimization and adoption, and material and application validation. She is also active in the Northeast Ohio Manufacturing Cluster and serves as Vice-Chair for Women in Manufacturing and Co-Ambassador for the Great Lakes Chapter of Women in 3D Printing.
Haleyanne, could you let us know about your background and what brought you to 3D printing in the
I was originally looking to work in machine tools and industrial manufacturing when I stumbled into 3D Printing. I had an unconventional professional background and was hopping between industries, trying to find something creatively challenging enough for me to legitimately apply myself. I got an interview at a machine tool company, and the owner had recently invested in a line of 3D Printers without knowing anything about them. He told me if I could figure them out, I could run the entire department for engineering and business development. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I’m so grateful I took the opportunity. It was truly life-changing.
Can you describe your very first experience with 3D Printing?
When I began my role at the company I mentioned above, I spent the first few months breaking the printers constantly and learning how to fix them. I took them apart, reassembled them, and learned every bit of the printer I possibly could. I found it so unbelievably fascinating and immediately fell in love. 2 years later and I now own 7 of my own printers at my house. They have their own bedroom!
You are the Global 3D Printing Engineering Specialist at M.Holland. Could you explain furthermore what M.Holland is and the services that you are providing?
We have an interesting position and opportunity in the 3D Printing Space. We are completely machinery and material agnostic. Our traditional business is plastic pellet distribution, so we have an extensive background and wealth of knowledge in the space of Plastic Injection Molding, Blow molding, extrusion etc. We also have an extensive line card of chemical companies who’s pellets we carry. In the 3D space, we provide unbiased recommendations and consulting services for companies looking to get into 3D Printing, expand their capabilities or move into low volume production. We assist with design, training, application development and material specking.
To date, what would you say is your greatest achievement in Additive Manufacturing?
We have assisted many companies in the complete adoption of Additive into their traditional manufacturing processes. It is very rewarding to see a team of engineers who you’ve trained and assisted that move parts into production because of the program you set up.
Have you run into any challenges from being a woman in 3D Printing?
Besides it occasionally being assumed in a meeting that I need technical concepts explained to me by a group of men when I have a technical background, I’ve more recently found the world’s perception and treatment of women in manufacturing to be changing for the better. However, there is one thing I struggle with on a regular basis. I’m well known for my no-BS personality and brutally honest opinions in the additive and plastics community. Because I get the opportunity to trial, use and review dozens and dozens of printers, I’m fortunate enough to be able to understand which companies and printers are truly remarkable and relevant to manufacturing, and I also get to see and experience the truth about the units that are not. I openly speak and present about us as an additive community ending the unrealistic expectations that the printing companies set when they stretch the truth about their capabilities. There is A LOT of marketing that exists in the 3D Printing world that is destroying the more wide-spread potential success of the industry. When printer manufacturers aren’t honest about their capabilities and limitations, they set their customers up to fail, and those customers won’t successfully and effectively adopt 3D Printing. I am very passionate about 3D and I know it can be a game-changer for every single manufacturing plant in the country, but only when they understand the truth about the processes. When I’ve explained these concepts to customers and companies, I have occasionally been viewed as “aggressive” as opposed to “passionate”. And it’s frustrating, as I know my male counterparts do not face the same struggles. I have been called aggressive more times than I can count; and while it’s not necessarily inaccurate, there’s a difference between being aggressively passionate about someone’s success in 3D Printing, and just being “aggressive”. I struggle with our industry viewing “aggressive passion” in women as a negative quality. It’s not. I’m here to help you make the best decision for you and your company, and I will gladly fight for your success if you can respect that my strong opinions come from a place of education and information. I truly hope that other women love their job as much as I do, and aren’t discouraged from being passionate about their work for fear of being viewed as aggressive, (or being called a bitch).
You are also Women in 3D Printing Great Lakes’ co-ambassador. What can you tell us about Chicago’s and Milwaukee’s communities?
We decided to do a joint chapter for Chicago and Milwaukee because the communities are so intertwined only being 1 hour apart. The Chicago manufacturing and 3D community is actually quite different from the Milwaukee community, and it makes for a good group. In Wisconsin, we have a lot of service bureau companies, molders, and TONS of industrial manufacturing. Chicago is much more of a city feel when it comes to 3D, and has a lot of printer manufacturers, resellers and technology companies.
Why did you decide to become a Women in 3D Printing ambassador?
I think it’s really stupid that no one encouraged me to be in manufacturing growing up. I didn’t even know what an engineer did until I was in my early 20’s. If someone had given me even a little bit of insight and education on just how wonderful and fascinating the manufacturing world is, I would’ve landed where I’m at now a lot sooner. I hope to encourage other women to explore career opportunities in manufacturing and 3D Printing. It’s such a unique and fantastically challenging industry, and I know there are other women just like me who just need to understand.
Anything exciting coming up you’d like us to know about?
We have some exciting new projects we’ve been working on for the past year that we’ll be able to share soon about our customer’s successes in adopting additive for production.
What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?
We’ve had customers who have completely eliminated their use of Injection Molding for very low volume production and moved to additive as a whole. I believe this to be impactful because it’s not just about the tooling cost savings, it’s the idea and concept that parts that consumers would purchase and hold in their hands would be manufactured with 3D Printing instead of traditional methods. That’s just one way that additive is changing the world.
What do you consider game-changing technologies in Additive Manufacturing?
There’s a few, actually. I believe the utilization of long-strand fibers in materials is a huge game-changer. There are technologies in FDM now that substantially reduce the Z modulus loss which is the biggest drawback in that technology. There are also high-speed powder-based systems that exist and are launching in the next 12 months that will completely change 3D Printing as we even know it today.
What makes the 3D printing industry particularly interesting for you?
3D Printing changes every single day. It’s the wild west of industry. There’s so much going on and being developed every single day, that this time next year, 3D Printing will be completely different than it is now. I find this fast-paced environment to be endlessly interesting.
What do you think of the 3D printing industry today? And how would you like to see it evolve?
To be completely forthcoming, I believe the 3D Printing industry today has some bad apples that make adoption harder for EVERYONE. I believe there’s so much potential for these technologies if they’re applied correctly and honestly. I would love to see it evolve into an industry that stops depending on false marketing claims, and depends on the engineering and technology to make this a complementary process to traditional manufacturing.
In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing?
I personally believe you need to start at the high school level. If you can show these young women that 3D Printing and even manufacturing in general can be cool and lucrative, you can help positively influence their educational choices to help encourage them to pursue this industry. I also believe that there are a lot of very capable women already in the work force that would be highly successful if given the right tools to succeed. If we as 3D Printing companies start focusing on hiring women that have the aptitude and desire to learn instead of only searching for those with 5 years experience in additive, I think it’ll change the industry for the better.
Favorite 3D tool (could be a software, machine, material…you name it)?
Favorite moment in your day job?
When customers absorb the information presented to them in my trainings and show me they can apply it.
Another inspiring woman you’d like us to interview?
Kimberly from IC3D and Lisa Lehman from Carbon.