Metals at 3T RPD3T's suite of additive manufacturing machines includes EOS P730s.
The TSB, the UK's innovation agency is investing £8.4 million in additive manufacturing, including selective laser melting technologies utilising powdered plastic or metals. 3T is leading three of the collaborative research projects and working as a partner in three further projects.
The projects 3T is collaborating on demonstrate the range of applications that the technology can be used for. One project aims to improve the surface finish of orthopaedic implants such as hip replacements, another is looking to produce new powders in order to make coloured components, giving designers much more creative scope. The third project is working towards the production of an innovative hydraulic servo valve.
As the industry develops from its rapid prototyping roots into a true production technology, 3T is involved in projects that move this trend forward. A number of the projects look to mechanise areas of pre and post production. For example, there is a project to develop software that automatically creates the necessary build supports for metal additive manufacturing production and a further project will develop an automated system for laser polishing and electrochemical machining of parts after they come out of the additive manufacturing build chamber.
The UK is a world leader in additive manufacturing and this investment should accelerate the UK's uptake of this established technology that continues to develop. This additional funding will bring additive manufacturing production components and consumer items to market faster and at higher quality giving engineers and designers more understanding of, and confidence in, the process.
Speaking about the TSB funding Ian Halliday, 3T's CEO said: "By supporting additive manufacturing, the Government-backed TSB is making a welcome investment in the future of UK manufacturing.
"This funding allows us to expand our established research and development team and we are already recruiting three new members of staff. The benefits to 3T will be significant not just in the short term but also in the long term as we compete in the worldwide market for additive manufacturing."