State-of-the-art 3D printers pave the way for local medical device, defence manufacturers

27 October

Adelaide will soon be home to the Southern Hemisphere’s most advanced, state-of-the-art metal 3D printing facility thanks to a $1.4 million State Government grant announced last night.

The grant will be provided to the University of Adelaide to establish the Additive Manufacturing Applied Research Network, which will create jobs and provide access for local companies to manufacture parts for the growing medical device and defence industries.

The metal 3D printing facility will be based in Northern Adelaide and will house three printers – one of which will be solely used and accredited for medical device manufacturing.

The facility will be the only metal additive manufacturing centre in Australia that’s available to companies on a commercial basis. Access to the world-leading technology will remove significant cost pressures and barriers for local manufacturers. Several local companies have already sought access to the new facility.

The University of Adelaide’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing and Optofab Australian National Fabrication Facility, together with the Stretton Centre in northern Adelaide and CSIRO’s Lab 22 additive manufacturing centre will establish the applied research network as a state-of-the-art, metal additive manufacturing facility.

The new facility puts South Australia at the forefront of additive manufacturing and will be an asset for the manufacture of parts for the defence and medical device sectors. It will also provide businesses with a new tool to undertake research, product development and validation testing.

The metal 3D printing facility is being supported through the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre, which aims to assist manufacturers to transition from low cost manufacturing to advanced manufacturing based on modern technologies and models.

Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Kyam Maher said the success of transforming the South Australian economy depends on our ability to adapt to new ways of doing things and establish advanced technologies to build globally competitive, high-value firms.

“Having the University of Adelaide support innovation in industries such as defence and health allows for better collaboration and fresh thinking and really helps promote our state as a world-leader in advanced and additive manufacturing,” Mr Maher said.

The University of Adelaide Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Julie Owens said this facility has been born out of three years’ work by the University’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing and the Optofab Australian National Fabrication Facility. Clients who use our current small 3D metal printing facility have had to go overseas to get access to larger printers for manufacture of products.

“The new facility will enable many advanced manufacturing projects in defence, medical devices, dental prostheses and injection moulding to be undertaken in Adelaide. This will significantly enhance local advanced manufacturing and we are proud to have been centrally involved in the creation of such an important new facility for South Australia,” Ptofessor Owens said.

IMCRC Managing Director and CEO David Chuter said the nature of manufacturing and its contribution to our economy is changing.

“Emerging, disruptive technologies and the increasing globalisation of supply chains are challenging traditional manufacturing in Australia,” Mr Chuter said.

“We work with manufacturing businesses, research organisations and government, and invest in partnerships that support innovation – globally competitive and sustainable products and manufacturing processes – to ensure Australian industry can meet the challenges and opportunities of the global economy.”