Next Generation of Innovators at AP&C: How two chemical engineers are shaping the future
They were classmates in the chemical engineering program at the École Polytechnique de Montréal, but their paths to additive took different turns along the way before meeting again. Now a few years after graduation, Amélie Lorenzi-Mercier and Jean-Simon Meunier are both using their expertise to shape the future of the additive industry at AP&C – a GE Additive company in Montreal.
“Everything about my job is innovative and that’s what keeps me motivated,” explained Amélie Lorenzi-Mercier. Two years out of university, she is at the forefront of the research and development of additive metal powders. Before she joined AP&C through an internship, the additive industry wasn’t on her radar.
“I knew nothing about powders and additive. I was planning on going into the food industry. It’s when I started my internship that I really started to picture the complexity and the potential of additive manufacturing.”
A month after starting an internship, AP&C offered her a fulltime position. “You could say, it was a perfect fit,” she added.
Amélie Lorenzi-Mercier is an R&D project manager where she is helping drive the business’s technology roadmap, and also working on an AP&C breakthrough: mass production of plasma atomized titanium aluminide as a process engineer and powder expert. In simple terms, she helps convert metal to powder to be used in 3D printing.
In her two years on the job, Lorenzi-Mercier has grown tremendously. “It’s my first job, and I feel like I have been trusted a lot and been given responsibility that I wouldn’t have had elsewhere.”
Lorenzi-Mercier is shown in the production hall at AP&C Montreal.
Jean-Simon Meunier is a process engineering leader, and his team is responsible for stabilizing and standardizing the atomization process to enhance productivity, reduce production costs, and increase the wire to powder yield, of course while maintaining a high-quality product and with environmental, health and safety at the forefront.
While the additive industry may not have been something he thought about as a kid, he knew from a young age that he loved chemistry.
“Before college, I loved my organic chemistry class. We learned how a chemical compound or molecule could be synthesized starting from raw materials. I was so fascinated by this, but everything we did in class was on a small scale, and I wanted to do the same thing on an industrial scale – chemical engineering is the scale up science.”
He joined AP&C in 2013 during a university summer break when there were less than 20 employees at the company that has grown to 200. Meunier realized then that he loved hands-on work and troubleshooting industrial processes and production equipment. He spent the next three summers as a chemical processing intern with AP&C where he focused on research and development on metal powders properties and sieving equipment. He was offered a full-time job upon graduation as a junior material engineer. Three years later, he is leading a team of process technicians.
Meunier is shown at the AP&C manufacturing site in Montreal.
“From the start, AP&C has always had an R&D culture. We are continuously improving the processes and operations, which is a dream for any kind of engineer or scientist,” he added.
Meunier thinks additive is a great field for university students. “This field is healthy and continuously moving,” he explained. “Currently, we can only see the tip of the iceberg of possibilities around additive. More metal and alloys are being discovered and produced. 3D printers are getting more repeatable, sturdy and reliable. I really think that soon enough, industrial machining will be replaced by additive across several industries.”
While he credits most of what he knows now to learning on the spot in the job, he thinks that chemical engineering is a good bridge to understand the basics of heat transfer, fluid mechanics, process controls and statistical mathematics.
Not only does Meunier enjoy the work, he enjoys the people. He’s part of the AP&C running club (along with Lorenzi-Mercier) and party planning committee.
“I have made many dear friends throughout the years. The diversity of knowledge and backgrounds of the people at AP&C provides me the mentoring to become a better engineer,” he added.
During career fair season, both Lorenzi-Mercier and Meunier can be found on campuses around Montreal recruiting the next generation of AP&C engineers.