Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) has awarded a grant of close to S$250,000 (approximately $180,000) to Singapore Polytechnic to further develop high-speed metal Additive Manufacturing technologies. This is the first translational research and development grant awarded to a Singaporean polytechnic in this area of specialisation.
The one-year grant by NAMIC aims to address some of the current challenges in producing metal parts by AM, and will draw on the knowledge-base of the polytechnic’s Advanced Materials Technology Centre (AMTC) and Australian AM machine manufacturer SPEE3D, which produces the LightSPEE3D system, said to be the fastest machine on the market. “Singapore is an ideal location to install the first LightSPEE3D printer in Asia,” commented Byron Kennedy, SPEE3D CEO. “Together with Singapore Polytechnic, ST Kinetics and NAMIC, we can showcase to the world how high-speed 3D printing can revolutionise manufacturing.”
The LightSPEE3D is based on cold spray technology and reportedly enables metal Additive Manufacturing at considerably faster speeds than those allowed by existing powder bed fusion and wire-based AM. The new partnership will combine the use of this machine with AMTC’s gas atomisation system, capable of producing customised metal powders for stronger and cheaper metal parts. If successful, the partners stated that they will be able to produce metal components ranging from brackets to engine parts at speeds of up to 1,000 times faster than conventional Additive Manufacturing technologies.
Run by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore)’s innovation and enterprise arm NTUitive, NAMIC is described as a “pan-national initiative” that aims to increase Singapore’s adoption of Additive Manufacturing technologies and enhance the country’s competitiveness in the evolving landscape of digital industrialisation. Dr Ho Chaw Sing, Managing Director of NAMIC, stated “We are delighted that SPEE3D has chosen Singapore as one of their key hubs for technology development, test-bedding and market expansion.”
“The lack of manufacturing grade metal printing at production speeds, as well as the cost and quality of the metal powder feedstock are huge obstacles towards mass adoption of metal AM technologies. The tripartite partnership aims to address these challenges, and is part of NAMIC’s strategic imperative to develop and introduce market-ready Additive Manufacturing solutions towards adoption in our industries.”
Apart from their research and development into AM and its applications, Singapore Polytechnic and NAMIC will also jointly develop Continuing Education and Training courses for advanced manufacturing. Expected to launch later in 2018, these new courses will also receive input from UL and Lloyd’s Register.
Dr Rajnish Gupta, Director of Singapore Polytechnic’s Technology, Innovation & Enterprise department, added, “We are excited to partner NAMIC and SPEE3D in revolutionising the manufacturing industry, given Singapore Polytechnic’s strengths and expertise in engineering. This will allow us to help position Singapore as a global Additive Manufacturing hub.”