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[Image: Straits Times]

Singapore has been heavily pursuing 3D printing in the past couple of years, and now the country has announced that it will be creating the world’s first 3D printing facility located at a port. Today, an agreement was signed to set up the facility at PSA’s Pasir Panjang Terminal, and it will be used to create spare parts for maritime equipment. The facility will be equipped with several of the newest and highest-quality 3D printers and will use a maritime digital cloud supported by blockchain technology for better security of file transfers.

“With additive manufacturing, customised ship parts such as propellers previously produced by original manufacturers at specific locations can now be printed whenever and wherever needed, at ports of call or even on board ships,” said Dr. Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health.

With newer 3D printing technologies, worn-out parts can even be repaired instead of replaced by adding on to them, prolonging the lives of parts and lowering the cost of maintenance. By having a 3D printing facility at the port, components can be produced as-needed, reducing the need for physical inventory. With this sort of production, companies do not have to rely on centralized production factories with long lead times and expensive transport.

The agreement to set up the facility was signed today at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) Global Additive Manufacturing Summit at Singapore Expo between the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), NAMIC, PSA Corporation and 3D MetalForge. MPA also launched a joint industry innovation program for additive manufacturing in maritime parts along with NAMIC and the Singapore Shipping Association.

“As a leading maritime hub, Singapore firmly believes that the maritime industry should embrace new technologies such as additive manufacturing,” said Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MBA. “The digitalisation of the maritime sector in all its aspects is not a matter of how but when.”

NAMIC held another additive manufacturing summit earlier this year, and has been a major force behind Singapore’s pursuit of 3D printing. This is especially true regarding the use of 3D printing in the country’s maritime industry. The marine sector isn’t the only area of focus for Singapore and NAMIC, however. NAMIC also signed an agreement with Wiivv, producer of customized 3D printed insoles, and Dr. Lam commented at the summit on the use of 3D printing for medical purposes – particularly the 3D printing of human skin tissue.

“Skin tissue can even be printed based on a patient’s cells, enabling more targeted and effective medical treatments,” he said.

That’s only one of the many medical applications of 3D printing, but the big news to come out of the NAMIC summit was the announcement of the development of the port facility. The success of the facility could open the door for other transportation sectors to establish 3D printing facilities right at travel hubs, such as airports.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

[Source: Straits Times]
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