Charles R. Goulding and Preeti Sulibhavi look at the latest developments in 3D printing taking place in Tulsa, OK.
Some state and local economic development authorities are offering bonuses for tech workers to relocate to their jurisdictions. Tulsa, Oklahoma is cited as having one of the more established programs offering US$12,000 per successful applicant. Some of the leading companies that have benefited from the Tulsa remote worker program include Adobe, Airbnb, Amazon, Apple, Dell, and Microsoft.
Facing a declining population, in 2020, Tulsa recognized the need to recruit and relocate remote STEM workers who also have the skills needed by Tulsa’s STEM local needs in 1. oil and gas, 2. aerospace, and 3. healthcare. One of the leading companies in Tulsa making use of 3D printing in Tulsa is the John Zink Hamworthy Combustion (JZHC) division of Koch Industries.
Based in Wichita, Kansas, Koch Industries is the largest privately-owned, technology-fueled company in the US that employs approximately 120,000 employees in 70-plus countries around the globe. Industry verticals include, but are not limited to, agriculture, electronics, medical products, supply chain & logistics, packaging, renewable energy, glass, and automotive components.
JZHC is probably one of the most relied-on companies for equipment that you’ve never heard of. Their products include highly customized burner tips for industrial flares, thermal oxidizers and boiler burners, among others, used while producing electricity for homes or fuel for vehicles.
The team at JZHC has been experimenting with innovative technologies. JZHC has installed 3D printers at many of the company’s offices globally to test design concepts and prototypes. The 3D printers can print in plastic or even metal using Desktop Metal’s Bound Metal Deposition process. This allows for complex geometries that would be difficult or virtually impossible to cast with traditional, subtractive technologies.
Adams Engineers and Equipment, Inc is an Oklahoma-based firm that provides clients with quality plastic processing equipment, including industrial 3D printers like the HP Jet Fusion 3D Printer. In fact, Adams’ additive manufacturing department provides AM services utilizing state-of-the-art technology to provide cost-effective prototyping and production.
The shift to remote work in Tulsa has brought more high-tech to a community as well as provided more work-life balance and a sense of belonging to many big city residents making the move to call Oklahoma home.
The Research & Development Tax Credit
The now permanent Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit is available for companies developing new or improved products, processes and/or software.
3D printing can help boost a company’s R&D Tax Credits. Wages for technical employees creating, testing and revising 3D printed prototypes can be included as a percentage of eligible time spent for the R&D Tax Credit. Similarly, when used as a method of improving a process, time spent integrating 3D printing hardware and software counts as an eligible activity. Lastly, when used for modeling and preproduction, the costs of filaments consumed during the development process may also be recovered.
Whether it is used for creating and testing prototypes or for final production, 3D printing is a great indicator that R&D Credit eligible activities are taking place. Companies implementing this technology at any point should consider taking advantage of R&D Tax Credits.
Traditionally, economic development jurisdictions would incur substantial outlays to attract employers by funding large brick and motor facilities and machinery and equipment.
With remote worker programs, the economic outlay is typically much less and focuses on highly skilled workers who want to be part of the community. To attract skilled workers, the 3D printing industry should consider participating in these programs.