Advanced Digital Manufacturing Lab


DCC's Workforce Services owns and operates an Advanced Digital Manufacturing Laboratory that is among the finest and most state-of-the-art in the nation.

Advanced Digital Manufacturing is a process whereby complete parts can be made using 3D CAD drawings (i.e., "rapid prototyping"). DCC's ADM Lab features a Vanguard Selective Laser Sintering machine built by 3D Systems, Inc. Supporting the college's Polymer Manufacturing Technology program, the ADM lab also features a 1 1/4-inch Wayne extruder; a 12-inch Formech vacuum thermo-former; and an 80-ton computer-controlled Krauss-Maffei injection molder.

The Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) machine uses a 100-watt CO2 laser to obtain a maximum scan speed of 7,500 mm/second. This equates to the capability to build parts at the rate of about a half inch per hour (depending on the item being built). The maximum build envelope (i.e., space in which a part can be built) is 14.5 x 12.5 x 17.5 inches. Larger items can be created by building separate parts for post-production assembly.


Upon acquiring its 3D Systems Vanguard Selective Laser Sintering Machine, DCC became the only two-year college in the nation that had rapid prototyping capabilities in both plastics as well as metals.


DCC's SLS system is capable of building parts in a variety of materials, including a glass-filled aramide (like nylon), bronze-infused steel, A6 tool steel, aluminum, and an elastomer, as well as casting material similar to foundry wax. 


Uses for SLS include:

  • Plastic or metal parts, patterns, and prototypes

  • Complex metal tooling inserts

  • Highly durable parts

  • Parts with small features

  • Parts with moving features

  • Short runs of plastic and metal parts

DCC's SLS machine was purchased under a grant from the United States Community Adjustment and Investment program (USCAIP) - North American Development Bank. USCAIP funding specifically targets communities that have suffered economic setbacks brought about through job losses as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
DCC's ADM Lab and its SLS machine got their start through Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology (CIT). In 1999, CIT awarded the college a $25,000 grant to study the feasibility of creating a polymers technology center.



  • Provide real-life product development training to students in DCC's Advanced Manufacturing Technology degree program

  • Provide real-life 3D CAD training to students in DCC's Drafting & Design program


Economic Development:

  • Help existing businesses improve or expand their product lines to ultimately help them create more jobs within their companies

  • Encourage businesses elsewhere to open plants in Southside Virginia to take advantage of SLS and related product development opportunities


Find out how DCC's Workforce Services' Advanced Digital Manufacturing Lab can help your business today!


To obtain a free DVD demonstrating the many ways in which DCC's ADM Lab can serve you, please contact DCC's Director of Manufacturing & Technical Services Jerry Franklin at 434-797-8573.

1008 South Main St., Danville, VA 24541  |  434.797.2222  |  434.688.0136 (vp)  |  FAX: 434.797.8541  |  Toll-Free: 1.800.560.4291
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