New Zealand leads in 3D with new fa­cil­ity

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - 3D TECHNOLOGY -

New Zealand businesses stand to ben­e­fit from a top-class 3D print­ing fa­cil­ity that can cre­ate ob­jects from ti­ta­nium and other metals, en­abling the de­vel­op­ment of a range of new ex­port prod­ucts.

Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion and the Ti­ta­nium In­dus­try De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (TiDA) have jointly pur­chased a Se­lec­tive Laser Melt­ing in­stru­ment, now in oper­a­tion at TiDA's Tau­ranga site.

This in­stru­ment has the abil­ity to make state-of-the-art 3D ob­jects by “print­ing” them us­ing metal pow­ders, such as ti­ta­nium al­loys and stain­less steel.

Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion's Ad­vanced Ma­te­ri­als re­search team will work with TiDA to use the ma­chine for re­search and help businesses com­mer­cialise prod­ucts.

“The fu­ture of high tech man­u­fac­tur­ing is driven by 3D print­ing,” says Dr Ian Brown, Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion's ma­te­ri­als re­search man­ager. 3D print­ing tech­niques are ef­fi­cient ways to trans­fer com­plex in­dus­trial de­signs to commercial pro­duc­tion.

“Ti­ta­nium is tremen­dously ex­pen­sive and tra­di­tional ways of ma­chin­ing some­thing from this ma­te­rial in­volved throw­ing away 90 per­cent of the metal. Us­ing 3D print­ers, you build the prod­uct layer by layer, with very lit­tle ma­te­rial wasted,” Dr Brown says.

TiDA CEO Warwick Down­ing says: “TiDA has well-es­tab­lished skills at de­sign­ing for and the ap­pli­ca­tion of 3D print­ing in metals. New Zealand is leading the way in re­search that sup­ports this in­dus­try.

“Hav­ing the Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion team on­site will pro­mote closer work­ing ties and will en­hance our ma­te­ri­als re­search ca­pa­bil­ity. We are al­ready see­ing the re­sults with new prod­ucts for com­pa­nies al­ready be­ing worked on and a faster prod­uct turn­around through the com­bi­na­tion of the two sets of skills.”

The 3D tech­nol­ogy is de­liv­er­ing re­sults for NZ com­pa­nies, and leading to a range of new ex­port prod­ucts.

For ex­am­ple, the Team New Zealand safety knife was de­signed and man­u­fac­tured at the TiDA fa­cil­ity as well as a range of prod­ucts that are now be­ing man­u­fac­tured us­ing the process rather than tra­di­tional man­u­fac­tur­ing meth­ods.

The 3D printer is only the sec­ond of its kind in New Zealand both in­stru­ments be­ing lo­cated at the TiDA labs. The additional skills avail­able as a re­sult of the Cal­laghan/TiDA col­lab­o­ra­tion make the TiDA site the most ad­vanced com­mer­cially fo­cused fa­cil­ity in Aus­trala­sia, and a global leader in the tech­nol­ogy.

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