While there were plenty of varying factors in play, for the most part it wasn’t until President Obama began mentioning 3D printing technology and actually funding research that the it began exploding into dozens of national industries. From research into printing biological tissue, printing parts for rocket engines and completely revolutionizing the way that our products are prototyped and designed, 3D printing is giving both the US and Europe a massive head start in redefining manufacturing. And while president’s and government’s can’t often directly affect individual industries, even verbally backing their development can often jump start them into action.
For a nation like China, who had almost cornered the market on inexpensive mass production, it has taken them a little longer than you would expect to hop onto the 3D printing train. But that has been rapidly changing. Chinese universities are becoming hotbeds of 3D printing technology and application research, Chinese companies are producing new and exciting metal and resin 3D printing technologies independently, and the government has started to take a very real interest in the emergent technology.
The Chinese government recently finalized a deal with Hunan Farsoon Hi-tech Co. Ltd. to build and manage a new, national engineering lab focusing entirely on 3D printing. Late last month, Hunan Farsoon held a ceremony to officially launch the massive construction project for the new, state of the art facility. And despite ground barely being broken, the lab has already developed a full slate of projects and goals to carry it through the next three years.
Farsoon’s chairman and Lab director Xu Xiaoshu said those goals will include achieving notable breakthroughs in at least twenty key additive manufacturing technologies. They should include material precision placement, precise object color matching, multifocal, integrated high precision data acquisition, as well as high frequency, high precision, and real time energy control.
Xu also wants to Increase individual component precision and manufacturing efficiency by a minimum or 100%. Additionally they aim to develop new or upgraded additive manufacturing equipment and technologies as well as a minimum of 15 polymer materials suitable for 3D printing complex structures and geometries. He also expects the lab to apply for at least 28 new patents on the various technologies and materials that are developed.
The new lab will be funded by and report directly to China’s National Development and Reform Commission in Beijing. The commission is directly responsible for the study and implementation of social and economic development policies as well as maintaining, and when needed, restructuring the Chinese economic system and policies.
In addition to Farsoon, several other co-founding members were on hand for the construction ceremony. Those co-founders include various higher education centers like Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Computing Technology. Also several prominent manufacturing companies including, Shanghai Fochif Mechatronics Technology Co. Ltd. and Dongguan Janus Precision Components Co. count themselves among the new National 3D Printing Lab’s founding members.
Should already established 3D printing industries throughout Europe and North America be worried about China’s sudden interest in additive manufacturing? Let us know how you feel about this development over on the China’s First National 3D Printing Lab forum thread at 3DPB.com.