Nov.22, 2013

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore has launched a new $15 million programme to develop additive manufacturing - or 3D printing technology.

The program aims to support the manufacturing sector in Singapore, particularly the aerospace, automotive, oil & gas, marine and precision engineering industries which constitutes 20 percent of the country's gross domestic product in 2012.

The programme is led by the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), a research institute of A*Star. Under the programme, SIMTech will work in partnership with the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and two other A*Star research institutes: the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) and the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC).

The $15 million will be used to develop six process technologies:

  • Laser Aided Additive Manufacturing (LAAM)
  • Selective Laser Melting (SLM)
  • Electron Beam Melting (EBM)
  • Polyjet
  • Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
  • Stereolithography (SLA)

The funding would go towards the procurement of new 3D printing machinery and support systems, scheduled to be delivered by the start of next year. Through the integrated development of these technologies, the major critical AM capabilities will be established. The developed technologies will be transferred to the Singapore manufacturing industry through collaborative industrial research.

Information on the six Additive Manufacturing Programmes of A*STAR:

1. Laser Aided Additive Manufacturing (LAAM): LAAM is a technology for fabricating metal parts directly from a computer-aided design (CAD) solid model by using a metal powder injected into a molten pool created by a focused, high-powered laser beam. Currently, LAAM is mainly used for repair and remanufacturing of various components, and hardly used for direct manufacturing parts for actual applications.

In this work package, the team will deploy LAAM to manufacture large format 3D down-hole components for the first time.

2. Selective Laser Melting (SLM): SLM is a laser-based 3D AM technique that builds objects layer upon layer from powders using computer-aided design (CAD) models. In the SLM process, support structures are often needed to build overhang structures, but the use of support structures complicates part geometry and surface quality.

In this work package, the team will develop a novel algorithm for manipulating mass distribution to
eliminate/reduce the use of support structures. In addition, novel materials will be developed with superior mechanical properties.

3. Electron Beam Melting (EBM): Electron beam melting (EBM) is a type of additive manufacturing for metal parts from a 3D CAD model with the successive layers melted together utilising a computer controlled electron beam building up the parts under vacuum. Among all AM processes, EBM is a highly efficient manufacturing process with low residual stress and distortion. However, the issue of rough surface finish and dimensional accuracy have not been solved to date.

In this work package, the team will leverage on its modelling, simulation, materials and process development capabilities to tackle the issues.

4. Polyjet: Polyjet 3D printers jet layers of liquid photopolymer to create a 3D prototype which can be used immediately without additional post-curing. The 3D printer can also jet a gel-like support material specially designed to uphold overhangs and complicated geometries which is easily removed by hand and with water. Currently, honeycomb structures, a key design feature in lightweight components, have been manufactured by extrusion and adhesive bonding, which involve tedious and multiple processes.

In this work package, the team will develop a novel way to directly fabricate polymeric honeycomb structure using Polyjet 3D printing. The technology can be widely used for various lightweight honeycomb structures manufacturing with flexible design and fast speed.

5. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS): SLS, an additive manufacturing layer technology, involves the use of a high power laser to fuse small particles of plastic, metal, ceramic, or glass powders into a mass that has a desired three-dimensional shape. To date, SLS has been gradually adopted in the manufacturing of component prototypes with limited functions and consistency.

In this work package, a physics-based model, computing simulation, new polymeric-based composite materials, together with process development will be systematically investigated to address the performance and consistency issues of SLS-fabricated components.

6. Stereolithography (SLA): Stereolithography (SLA) is an additive manufacturing process which employs a vat of liquid ultraviolet curable photopolymer "resin" and an ultraviolet laser to build parts one layer at a time. Currently, the materials used for SLA are largely dominated by the equipment suppliers.

In this work package, the team will develop low cost photopolymers to fabricate printed components with superior impact strength while at the same time, reducing the overall weight. The technology will be widely used for various large format lightweight functional gradient component structures with superior properties.


Posted in 3D Printing Technology



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive