NAMIC Holds Additive Manufacturing Summit, Continues to Build Singapore’s 3D Printing Economy


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Singapore has a booming maritime industry, one that has only been enhanced of late by 3D printing. The country has been aggressively pursuing the technology in its marine sector, and behind much of Singapore’s 3D printing activity has been the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster, or NAMIC. Yesterday, NAMIC held the Maritime and Energy Sector AM Summit, the fifth in the AM Summit Series.

The summit focused on several themes, including a look at how 3D printing will change the future of the maritime and energy sectors and impact global supply chains. Another theme was the making of the WAAMpeller, the world’s first class-approved 3D printed ship’s propeller. Additional themes included standards and certification in 3D printing for the marine offshore and oil and gas sectors, as well as a showcase of Singapore’s latest additive manufacturing technologies and solutions.

At the summit, NAMIC also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) regarding a Joint Industry Program (JIP) that will develop maritime applications related to digitalization and advanced manufacturing. The partnership will further develop additive manufacturing applications and services for the maritime industry and strengthen Singapore’s position as a hub port with efficient one-stop port services, as well as a hub for digital manufacturing, testing and certification of advanced manufacturing technologies. The JIP will also facilitate market feasibility studies.

The WAAMpeller [Image: Damen Shipyards Group]

“As a vibrant ecosystem consisting of the port, shipping, maritime services and offshore and marine engineering cluster, Singapore is well-poised to leverage our R&D capabilities and serve as a test-bed for 3D printing technology for application in the maritime sector,” said Kenneth Lim, Director (Research, Technology and Industry Development), MPA. “Developing this technological capability could create positive spinoffs, translating into efficiency and productivity gains for the wider shipping community. To support this effort, MPA is pleased to partner with NAMIC to encourage further public-private sector collaborations in exploring 3D printing for the sector.”

[Image: Wilhemsen]

Different aspects of advanced manufacturing, including secure data exchange, supply chain digitalization and print-on-demand fabrication will be developed and deployed through industry partners, several of which have already expressed interest in participation. These include major maritime classification societies, as well as companies like Wilhelmsen Ships Service, the world’s largest maritime products and services supplier.

“3D printing essentially enables our customers to access a micro factory, if and when they need it, in their next port of call,” said Nakul Malhotra, Vice President of Technical Solutions and Marketing, Marine Products for Wilhemsen Ships Service.

“By adopting a well-known technology and putting it to work within our global network to produce marine-specific, on-demand parts, Wilhelmsen is actively shaping the maritime industry,” added Kjell Andre Engen, Executive Vice President of Marine Products.

NAMIC is also partnering with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) to work on developing skilled professionals in additive manufacturing. The organizations will collaborate with several institutes of higher learning including Nanyang Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic, as well as training providers like TUM Asia and SIMTech to develop customized programs and courses under the SkillsFuture Series and SkillsFuture ELP. Singapore Polytechnic, Lloyd’s Register, NAMIC and SSG will develop a series of master classes in additive manufacturing for the manufacturing sectors, including Maritime and Energy. These three-day classes will offer companies the knowledge they need to adopt additive manufacturing and cover areas such as processes, codes, standards, quality control and assurance, and certification.

In addition, NAMIC will be developing an industry-led certification framework, supported by SSG, to professionalize and recognize the industry workforce by offering certificates for certain AM courses. NAMIC, Nanyang Polytechnic and SSG will be offering the first SkillsFuture ELP in Additive Manufacturing, a specialist diploma, for new polytechnic graduates.

Through the publicly funded universities, polytechnics and research institutes, NAMIC is working with several companies across various industry verticals with a project pipeline of more than $25 million. Collaborators include startups such as 3DMetalforge, Nanosun, Osteopore, and Flare Dynamics, as well as large established companies like Sembcorp Marine, Underwriters Laboratories and DNV-GL.

[Image: NTUitive]

Those collaborators are just a few of the additive manufacturing startups that have emerged in Singapore over the past couple of years. Others include Structo, Gilmour Space, Siege Advanced Manufacturing, Spare Parts 3D, Denova Sciences, Kosmode Health and more. Large multinational corporations such as Emerson, Flowserve, UPS-Fast Radius, Rolls-Royce, Underwriters Laboratories, DNV-GL and Yamazaki Mazak have also chosen Singapore as a regional hub.

One of those startups, 3DMetalforge, operates one of Asia’s largest 3D printing service bureaus. NAMIC has partnered with the company to develop and commercialize large-format metal 3D printing technologies. Some of the technologies 3DMetalforge offers are selective laser melting (SLM), hybrid wire-arc additive manufacturing (H-WAAM), and automated laser arc additive manufacturing (LAAM). Another startup, Spare Parts 3D, uses plastic 3D printing to create spare parts for home appliances. Those are just two examples of the young companies making their homes in Singapore, helping to establish the country’s status as a central location for 3D printing businesses.

“As a premier global hub port and maritime centre, Singapore is well-placed towards enhancing its world-leading position in the digital age,” said Dr. Ho Chaw Sing, Managing Director of NAMIC. “Our partnership with MPA, SSG and various industry players will help accelerate MPA’s future Port of Singapore, marrying a highly-skilled workforce and secure digital platforms for maritime services and supply chain together with advanced manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing.”

NAMIC has also signed a partnership with Taiwan’s National Applied Research Labs (NAR) and China Medical University Hospital (CMUH). The organizations will collaborate on several 3D printing initiatives focusing on biomedical applications in the areas of education, research, translation and commercialization. This is the second international collaboration from NAMIC; the first was signed in October 2017 with Shanghai Additive Manufacturing Association (SAMA) and Shanghai Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre (SAMIC).

[Image: National Applied Research Labs]

The initiative is part of Taiwan’s Southbound Policy, which aims to enhance cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and 18 other countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australasia. To strengthen Taiwan’s competitive advantage in medical 3D printing, the NARLabs Medical Instrument Value Creation Alliance was established in 2014 and includes partners such as Tongtai Machine & Tool and TTMC. In 2016, NARLabs, Tongtai Machine & Tool, China Steel, and TTMC launched a 3D-printing Joint Laboratory in Hsinchu Biomedical Park. The laboratory was set up to develop medical material and manufacturing equipment domestically, and to promote Taiwanese biotech and medical equipment on the global market.

This new collaboration will bring international resources, funding, and research teams into the Hsinchu Biomedical Park, as well as promote Taiwan’s biotechnology sector through access to international market resources and marketing channels.

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