AMS Spring 2023

NAMIC Global AM Summit Drives Singapore’s Unique 3D Printing Opportunities

6K SmarTech

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The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) 3D printing conference in Singapore kicked off with a full two-day program that represents NAMIC’s first in-person conference in two years. Ahead of the event, a group of several hundred people sat in the conference hall all very happy to see each other again.

A*Star Builds 3D Printing Across Singapore

After the opening of the Global AM Summit from NAMIC Director Dr. Ho Chaw Sing, the Guest of Honor was announced to be Fred Chew, CEO of Singapore’s science and technology council, A*Stars. Chew told us about the importance of additive manufacturing (AM) for Singapore across industries. He spoke fondly of NAMIC´s progress in many verticals and Singapore’s wish to expand production significantly. He also spoke of 3D printing in the wider role in government initiatives and manufacturing as whole. He mentioned as well NAMIC´s foray into digital inventories for small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) in Singapore, developing AM centers, as well as creating certification initiatives.

Recycled Metal 3D Printing Powders and Medical Deals

Molyworks also announced that its powder reclamation and recycling facility was going live this week, as a part of the soft opening of its Singapore foundry. With Molyworks, Singapore gains the ability to make powders for AM in a sustainable manner. We don’t know yet for what applications customers will accept recycled powders, but it is a step ahead in sustainability. It’s also strategic for Singapore as it allows the country produce powder locally, increasing its overall resilience.

Subsequently, there was a memorandum of understanding signed between medical contract manufacturer PrinterPrezz and the National University Health System, Sing Health and the National Healthcare Group. This will see PrinterPrezz to work with the health systems on 3D printing medical devices.

Hyperganics and Our Fireside Chat

Linhan Wu then held a keynote for Hyperganic. He spoke about 3D printing aerospike engines, generating 200 designs a week for them. He also touted the world changing potential of air conditioning and heat exchangers improved with 3D printing and Hyperganic’s software.

Subsequently, Kevin Slattery of the Barnes Global Advisors did a standing ¨fireside chat¨ about 3D printing and mass manufacturing with Joris Peels, Executive Editor of 3DPrint.com and Vice President of Consulting for SmarTech Analysis. Your author was brilliant, of course, as was Kevin. We discussed the next applications that would sell millions of 3D printed parts, the current limitations of AM, what is holding back the industry, the promise and slow progress of binder jet and much more.

Sustainability in Aviation, Construction, and Metal 3D Printing

Iain Rodger, of GE Aerospace, then spoke about sustainability, including the famed CFM LEAP engine nozzle. He mentioned that they have made over 100,000 of them, which are five times more durable than those that they replace. He mentioned that the GE9X engine has 300 parts that are printed. He also spoke about GE’s $1.8-billion-revenue maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) unit in Singapore that 3D printed its first MRO part last year.

Mighty Buildings Chief Sustainability Officer Sam Ruben then spoke about housing and the climate crisis. He mentioned on how his startup worked with UL to be the first company to certify an additive construction component with the safety organization. Ruben also showed a video of assembling a home on site from flat-pack 3D printed parts in a single week. He spoke about making ¨zero net energy homes¨ replete with battery storage and solar panels. The company also hopes to be carbon neutral and even perform carbon sequestration in its homes.

Mighty Buildings’ first 3D printed, Zero Net Energy home. Image courtesy of Mighty Buildings.

Next, Dr. Yusaku Maruno, of Hitachi Metals, discussed sustainability efforts at his firm. One of the topics he mentioned was that increased corrosion and wear resistance of components could be improved to lengthen their useful life. This kind of approach to sustainability is not often discussed. He also spoke about developing specific alloys for additive for sustainability, as well as very specialized, high-performance materials, like Admuster C21P, that could be used in very corrosive environments.

Finally, a panel went on to talk about “Empowering a Sustainable World”. The general consensus was that sustainability is a source of advantage and that it can lead to greater efficiency. It’s lovely to be in Singapore, a small country with a vibrant entrepreneurial culture where NAMIC is leading the way in not only spreading AM across the city state but advancing it for the industry as a whole.

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