With the awarding a $1.4 million state government grant to the University of Adelaide, South Australia will become home to the southern hemisphere’s most advanced metal 3D printing facility.
The grant will be used to establish the Additive Manufacturing Applied Research Network, which the university said will create jobs and provide access for local companies to manufacture parts for the growing defence industry.
The metal 3D printing facility will be based in northern Adelaide and will house three printers.
The facility will be the only metal additive manufacturing center in Australia that’s available to companies on a commercial basis.
"We value innovation and we know it drives economic growth and job creation, so this investment is key to creating the jobs of today and the jobs of the future," said Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Kyam Maher.
"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."
University of Adelaide said access to the world-leading technology will remove significant cost pressures and barriers for local manufacturers, and several local companies have already sought access to the new facility.
"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," said the University of Adelaide's acting deputy vice-chancellor (research) Professor Julie Owens.
"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."
The network will also involve the establishment of a plastics 3D printing facility at the City of Playford’s Stretton Centre, Munno Para.
The Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing and the 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.
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The 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.