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CSIRO 3D printing centre opens

CSIRO will open an innovation centre intended to accelerate industry adoption of metal 3D printing and other additive manufacturing technologies today.

The $6 million centre, called Lab 22, aims to provide Australian companies with affordable access to specialist additive manufacturing equipment and expertise.

By lowering their capital investment risk and allowing companies to ‘try before they buy’, it is hoped the centre will help overcome one of the major barriers facing smaller businesses in adopting 3D printing with metal.

“This advanced equipment is in the range of $1 million per unit, but the vast majority of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) don’t have that amount of capital on-hand to take a leap of faith on a new or emerging technology,” CSIRO additive manufacturing research leader, Alex Kingsbury said.

“We’re providing Australian companies with a unique opportunity to access some of the most advanced additive manufacturing equipment with the help of our experienced technical experts, for a comparatively minimal daily fee.”

Australian 3D printing service companies, Made for Me and Keech3D, were the first companies to sign to use the centre’s new space with the aim of growing their metal 3D printing services.

According to Kinksbury, the centre has already signed up four industry partners and now wants more companies to become involved.

CSIRO has partnered with industry on a range of world-firsts using its Arcam 3D printer, including a titanium heel bone implant to treat a cancer patient, a mouthguard for treating sleep apnoea and a customisable ‘orthotic’ for horses suffering laminitis.

Experts at the centre can help companies tailor design solutions, and have the ability to capture 3D data and simulate both the manufacturing process and in-service part performance.

Lab 22’s additive manufacturing equipment includes: Arcam A1, Concept Laser M2, Optomec LENS MR-7, Voxelject VX1000 and Cold Spray Plasma Giken.

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