After a Master degree in Industrial Chemistry, Marta Invernizzi decided to get into a PhD in Materials Engineering with the Polytechnic University of Milan. She is one of the few in Italy to have such an academic mixed background. She is an expert in polymeric additive manufacturing, and her PhD was based on the development of new resins and composites for additive manufacturing. She currently is an Industrial Gases and AM sales representative at at Nippon Gases Italy. 

Marta, could you let us know briefly about your background and your journey into Additive Manufacturing?

I have a master degree in Industrial Chemistry, but I worked only few months after the graduation in the galvanic industry, because I decided to take a break of one year. In fact, this type of work didn’t satisfy me and I took this opportunity when I found out I was pregnant. It was only when I decide to do a PhD in Materials Engineering that I discovered Additive Manufacturing. In fact, my future supervisor involved me in a brief period in her lab before the beginning of the PhD in order to prepare me about it. She told me that my PhD will be focused on new photoreactive polymers and polymer composites for additive, but for me it was a completely new world. My supervisor’s claim was “if you can imagine it, you can print it”. My supervisor succeeded in transfer me the passion for Additive, and this allowed me to be assigned in a very short period to a project for the development of Additive in my actual Company. 

What is Nippon Gases Italy and what is your role within the company?

Nippon Gases Italy is one of the main Italian companies active in the market for the production and distribution of industrial, medical, specialty and refrigerant gases, and provides essential support to various industrial sectors including metallurgy, chemicals, electronics, automotive, construction, shipbuilding and food. Founded in 1920, it is now part of Nippon Gases Europe, a company owned by Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation, the Japan largest industrial gas producer and one of the top five industrial gas suppliers in the whole world with more than 100 years of experience in the gas industry. Additive Manufacturing is one of the emergent business of Taiyo Nippon Sanso that with a R&D laboratory in Japan is studying new gases mixtures and technological solutions. In particular in Italy Nippon Gases Italy is establishing itself as a reliable partner to improve the metal AM processes through gases and by means of our Japanese research. 

Since I was hired one year ago, I am an industrial gases sales representative: in particular I offer gases and solutions for Metal Fabrication (welding and cutting applications ) and Food & Beverage (MAP packaging, blanketing) sectors. But thanks to my background in few months I was assigned also to a new marketing project related to the sale and development of new technologies to support Metal Additive Manufacturing processes. As multinational corporation, this role allowed me to travel and meet my European and also Japanese colleagues. My Company recognized my skills and despite my short experience here, entrusted me with this project, also by increasing my knowledge with schools and training.     

To date, what would you say is your greatest achievement in Additive Manufacturing? 

Having created new materials that once put in the 3D printer, they worked. In fact, for the first time I saw my efforts to create new chemical architectures on the paper, turn into reality: they had a tensile modulus, a glass transition temperature…features seen before only on my paper research. 3D printing was the means of transforming theory into practice. In addition, 3D printing allows you to get new materials in the easiest way: in one of my project of my PhD I prepared and printed a shape memory polymer with self-healing abilities, but due to some feature of the process I needed to modify the printer and I did it.

The coolest thing is the possibility in 3D printing to get what you want: both modify the material and the printer. 3D Printing is a very versatile technology in this sense, without any type of limitations. 

Moreover, in Nippon Gases Italy I’m having the possibility to “touch with my hand” the industrial application of Additive Manufacturing, understanding the real applications and how different can be the requests made to Additive respect to university.

Do you have any (fun or not) story about the company or your career to share with us? 

In October of the last year the marketing manager proposed me to participate to an important additive meeting in Munich. Thanks to this event I met the Nippon Gases Europe director of technologies and other important European managers.  It was my first and international approach with additive in Nippon Gases Italy. I tried to be myself, that is, passionate and curious and I tried to understand more about Metal Additive Manufacturing, something completely new for me. I loved it.

After this positive experience the marketing manager invited me to join Formnext fair with our European and Japanese colleagues to understand better our role in Additive. I met the general manager of our Additive R&D department having the unique opportunity to discuss with him and the Japanese team about new ideas and work together to improve the technological network. I was enthusiastic! So my journey started.

I got the idea that the meeting in Munich was a kind of test …..

Have you run into any challenges from being a woman 3D Printing? 

Not at all. In our 3D printing lab we were almost 50% women. Today in my company in Italy I am the only woman to have an expertise in 3D printing, but with my colleagues there is a continuous exchange of knowledge and experiences: I share with them mine, they share with me theirs in other sectors

What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?

As a materials engineer, the possibility to obtain the desired microstructure by fine tuning of process variables in a PBF, DMLS, EBM and other 3D printing techniques.

More in general, the possibility to control material properties by controlling the process itself. It’s a powerful tool.

What advice do you have for women looking to get started in 3D Printing?

Be passionate, and always remember that you can do whatever you want with additive: you can explore new technologies or new materials. The choice is up to you. You can really turn into reality what you can imagine. You have only to be open-minded.

In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with Additive Manufacturing? 

By sharing the stories of other women who have based their careers on Additive Manufacturing. I think that the most powerful tool we have is the experience and the example. If we have an example, we will be more likely to follow it, because “if he/she succeeded in, why not me?”

Favorite 3D tool? Thingiverse 

Favorite moment in your day job? My daily scientific papers research to understand more in depth processes and materials

What’s on your 3D Printing wishlist for the next 5 years?  A more effective diffusion in industries to support and replace traditional technologies, to conceive new ways of producing by taking care of the planet in an idea of ​​circular economy.

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