I know I talk a lot about the problems caused by plastics, but the fact is that they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s refreshing, then, to see companies putting effort into researching ways to make plastics more sustainable – and that’s one of the principles on which Brightlands Materials Center was founded. The young company, established in March of 2015, loves polymers, and is dedicated to researching ways to make polymeric materials better – better-functioning, more efficient, more sustainable, etc.
Unsurprisingly, one of the main research areas of Brightlands Materials Center is additive manufacturing. Their multifaceted program focuses on the research and development of new materials for 3D printing applications, including biomaterials. Their Brightlands Chemelot Campus and partnering Maastricht University are home to several PhD students whose doctoral research projects will center on improving the performance and efficiency of polymeric additive manufacturing materials, as well as developing new materials and multi-material printing technologies.
Now, Brightlands Materials Center has signed a Letter of Intent with safety science corporation Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to provide education and training in additive manufacturing to emerging markets, with the goal of promoting additive manufacturing on a global level.
“Brightlands Materials Center’s goal is to bring together entrepreneurial and innovative companies, leading academic researchers and the next generation of top talent in inspiring R&D programs with the long term vision to boost sustainable development in the field of materials” said Marnix van Gurp, Managing Director of Brightlands Materials Center. “AM is one of the most promising emerging manufacturing technologies for materials of today. We are excited to collaborate with UL to extend advancements in innovation, safety and quality of AM materials.”
Underwriters Laboratories already offers a comprehensive, three-tier additive manufacturing training program to help companies safely and successfully implement the technology in their business. Tier 1 focuses on the foundations of 3D printing, while Tier 2 builds technical and design knowledge, as well as education about the economics of 3D printing. Tier 3 is a master-level course that teaches advanced skills in metal additive manufacturing and results in application-specific certifications (medical implants, aerospace, etc.).
Brightlands Material Center will now offer UL’s curriculum at their Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen, the Netherlands. Initially, they will offer the first two tiers of the program: Foundations and Technical & Economics Training.
“Our vision is to collaborate with the additive manufacturing industry to further develop innovation, safety and quality,” said Simin Zhou, Vice President of UL Digital Manufacturing Technologies. “We see this new relationship with Brightlands Materials Center as a natural extension of that vision. Their demonstrated commitment to AM via material, service and facility development is a perfect complement to UL’s AM training, facility safety, and material and process programs. We look forward to expanding AM knowledge throughout Europe together.”
The two institutions will officially launch the new training program at the 3D Printing Materials Conference, which will take place on February 7 at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus. Conference attendees will be able to attend single-day workshops in “Selecting AM Materials & Processes” and “Fundamentals of AM Designs.”
The education and training collaboration is only the first part of what Brightlands and UL plan to be a long-term partnership. The two institutions intend to work together on additive manufacturing material research, testing and certification, and eventually open an additive manufacturing center of excellence, which UL has already done in Singapore. Discuss in the Brightlands UL forum at 3DPB.com.