The Taiwanese not only have a penchant for exploring new technology, they have as a whole been working hard to emerge as serious leaders in manufacturing and innovation, aside from the world of the PC and laptop. Serious and ongoing competition from neighbors like China and Vietnam in the technological arena has made their journey challenging.
In recent years though, Taiwan has evolved into one of the leaders in innovation and patenting. And they’ve had the right idea, as government officials have encouraged researchers and other powers that be to delve into 3D printing. As Taiwan has emerged into this world of powerful, new and different technology, 3D printing with metal has been at the top of their list, and they’ve made good headway–and fast.
Not too long ago, we reported that Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute had unveiled their first metal 3D printer geared toward jewelry printers and designers, with the AM100/AM250. Progress behind the scenes has been ongoing within the country though, obviously, as they now unveil a complete 3D printing metal system developed at the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST). In the works since last year, this metal 3D printing system is targeted at applications for aerospace and defense.
Jen Kuo-kuang, deputy general director of the institute’s Missile and Rocket Systems Research Division, has firm belief in the technology, projecting that it will indeed be used widely and “can break through the limits of traditional manufacturing process.”
Researchers from National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology are currently working in cooperation with National Cheng Kung University to develop and locally manufacture powdered materials for 3D printing in metal.
The 250 x 250 x 250 mm metal AM system includes an independent and tested 500 W laser, according to the institute.
“It can satisfy the needs of the aerospace and defense industries,” said Jen Kuo-kuang, also relaying that they see the system as working to produce metal components much more quickly, along with manufacturing much higher-quality components.
3D printing can be crucial for the defense industry as it allows for fabrication of parts that may be hard to get or have becoming obsolete altogether. In keeping with all the main benefits of 3D printing, speed, affordability, and accessibility come into play.
With simple 3D scanning of parts, components can be repaired and even re-created for equipment like aging planes and much more can be maintained in a much easier manner. This could really be the key to maintenance for missiles and numerous military machines that have not required use in decades. According to Jen Kuo-kuang, they definitely see this carrying over to using 3D metal printing to maintain old submarines from Taiwan’s military as well.
With hopes that the new 3D printing metal system will be completed in the next six months, this should give an even further boost to Taiwan’s growing reputation as dynamic leader in the innovation arena.
What are your thoughts on Taiwan’s use of metal 3D printing? Let us know in the Taiwan Military 3D Printing forum thread on 3DPB.com.[Sources: Focus Taiwan, Taipei Times]