Many have speculated on how the popularity and usefulness of 3D printing in other countries would affect China. Would it loosen their grip on manufacturing, as well as their hold on the rest of the world? So far, the answer would seem to be a firm no, and they seem to be as interested in 3D printing as the rest of us; in fact, China has been extremely innovative, even in the medical field, with surgeons performing spinal implant procedures as 3D printing is being met with further approval by the China Food and Drug Administration. Delving even deeper, China has also been working to combine both old and new techniques with the development of a new 3D printing metal technology, as well as garnering significant attention with their most recent news in the Shandong Province, as a 3D printed house was erected in Binzhou City—and reportedly is just the first in an ongoing 3D printing construction project.
It looks as if many more projects are certainly ahead too, not only for China, but Australia as well, as Melbourne-based Swinburne University of Technology has announced the signing of an agreement to create a joint research center in manufacturing in Weihai, also in the Shandong Province, with the following:
- Shandong University Weihai (SDUW)
- Weihai Economic and Technological Development Zone (WZ)
- Australian Education and Management Group (AEMG)
This partnership brings together substantial resources as they, and especially Swinburne and its students and staff, will be able to share research laboratory facilities, encourage collaborations between researchers to work on projects and write papers together, as well as overseeing doctoral level programs—and very importantly as well, ‘engaging with industry.’
“As part of this partnership, students will have the opportunity to undertake a PhD, jointly supervised by Swinburne and SDUW working on industry projects. They will have access to facilities at both universities and work on industry projects in the Weihai Economic and Technological Development Zone,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) Professor Aleksandar Subic.
Swinburne has a global presence, and we’ve seen numerous fascinating research projects emerging from their facilities, such as the studying of fragile butterfly wings to inspire improved 3D printing of electronics, as well as breakthroughs with 3D printed foot prosthetics that are affordable and can be customized to each patient. Along with this, the government in Australia has been pushing STEM education and 3D printing more and more. Certainly their presence in China and their work with other entities will work to strengthen the research activities of both countries.
Overall, the center will focus on:
- Automation and mechatronics
- 3D printing
- Biomedical devices and medical manufacturing
- Electronics manufacturing
- Advanced manufacturing materials
In keeping with their ambitions with the partnership as they will all be able to expand on so many levels, the center will be in WZ’s Science and Technology Park, opening early next year. Swinburne recently pointed out that they will take their place there as the first international university in the park. As they are in the midst of such industrial activity there, the researchers will be focusing heavily on related projects.
“Leading researchers from both universities will engage with WZ’s key industries in the areas of advanced manufacturing, in particular automation and advanced materials processing,” states Swinburne.
Swinburne does already partner with SDUW on numerous projects, but obviously the center will solidify their relationship much further, opening to the door to unlimited innovation and discovery in research.
“This research partnership aligns with Swinburne’s strategic direction and one of our key research institutes. We believe this partnership will be mutually beneficial for all parties, as we work together to create impact in the field of advanced manufacturing,” Professor Subic says.
Both governments are obviously in support of the center, the collaboration, and their directives as a whole. In a recent Beijing trip, the Premier of Victoria, Honourable Daniel Andrews, MP mentioned the imminent opening of the new center. Not only does this open up infinite new avenues for research as the entities from two different countries work together even more closely, but with the reciprocal PhD programs, it will offer students much more opportunity as well as a chance to gain perspective on both countries and their respective manufacturing needs, as well as trading ideas intellectually and creatively. It’s obvious to see the benefits of such a research center opening as both Australia and China are on the cusp of breaking into the world of 3D printing and offering their discoveries not just to their own countries, but the entire world. Discuss in the Research Partnership forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: Swinburne]