Alliance to put Wollongong at the heart of manufacturing innovation

20 February 2013

prof_wallace_3d_printer.jpgAn alliance between the Australian Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), the Advanced Manufacturing Co-operative Research Centre (AM CRC) and the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) will build opportunities for local companies to be at the forefront of the next generation of manufacturing and processing technologies.

The alliance will allow the groundbreaking research being undertaken by ACES, facilitated by cutting edge fabrication tools provided by ANFF to be directly disseminated to industry and end users via the AM CRC.

ACES Director Professor Wallace said the alliance would lead to global partnerships and opportunities for the local manufacturing industry in additive manufacturing.

ACES current research focus is on production of medical devices bionic devices for nerve and muscle regeneration.

The Alliance is also expected to unearth exciting shorter term opportunities.

Additive manufacturing, through inkjet and extrusion printing, involves taking a 3D computer model of a component and print it layer by layer.

This process reduces machining waste and drastically reduces the amount of time it traditionally takes to build prototypes, or custom-ordered items, such as a hip or bone replacement.

Additive manufacturing is an innovative approach to the economic challenge of supporting a manufacturing industry as the world moves away from carbon-heavy economies.

It empowers researchers by enabling the fast tracking of device fabrication in the laboratory environment, Professor Wallace said.

Additive fabrication is exciting technologically but also in that it is enabling us to rapidly build bridges across the traditional research industry divide.

The (ACES-CRC AM) alliance will be launched and the newly established ACES-ANFF AdBioFab facility will be opened on February 19 at Wollongongs Innovation Campus.

The Advanced Manufacturing CRC provides research and development support to ensure the implementation and commercialisation of innovations in manufacturing in Australia.

AMCRC Managing Director Bruce Grey said that manufacturing was evolving from labour-intensive subtractive processes to more automated, sophisticated ICT-based processes.

This new alliance will provide AMCRC participants with the opportunity to access research into these new additive manufacturing processes.

Federal Member for Throsby, Stephen Jones said: This is an exciting new alliance thats on the cutting edge of manufacturing.

Its a fantastic opportunity for local manufacturers to get in on the ground floor and see through the entire process, from prototype to production.

Another great step in rebuilding our local economy.

ACES is an internationally acclaimed Centre of Excellence providing groundbreaking research in new Electromaterials, processing and device fabrication.