Jan 20, 2016 | By Benedict

Three Swedish institutions have joined forces to improve the national metal 3D printing industry. Gothenburg-based Chalmers University of Technology, Trollhättan-based University College West and research group Swerea have together established a national arena for metal 3D printing, intended to accelerate the pace of 3D printing research, education and information throughout the Swedish metal and engineering industries.

Metal 3D printing at Swerea

A well-attended meeting was held on January 7 in the Western city of Trollhättan, an industrial hotspot whose name translates as “troll’s bonnet”. During the meeting, the three parties discussed the possibility of creating a national arena focused on expanding nationwide use of metal 3D printing. Various motions were tabled during the discussion, including the essential need to reduce environmental impact and resource consumption in the metal and engineering industries, both at the production stage and during the eventual usage of manufactured components. The overwhelming consensus was that 3D printing could help save resources and therefore offer a positive contribution to the environment.

The group decided that 3D printing could help Sweden reduce its overall material consumption in the industry by optimizing the geometric structures of its metal components. 3D printed metal components can often be made significantly lighter than traditionally-built alternatives with little reduction in strength, whilst the technology also permits shorter runs and greater customization.

“Sweden has considerable expertise in this area and we should exploit, enhance and further develop it,” said Staffan Söderberg, CEO of Swerea KIMAB, materials research arm of the Swerea group. “We want to join forces to strengthen the competitiveness of Swedish industry. We have different skills and experience to contribute and our goal is to put Swedish industry in a world-leading position.”

From top to bottom: Chalmers, University College West, Swerea

Chalmers, University College West and Swerea have each vowed to bring their respective areas of expertise to the table, in order to maximize the effectiveness of the newly-founded 3D printing institution. With Sweden already a respected international figure in the engineering and metal industries, the challenge for the group is to channel the nation’s considerable skills and resources into the additive manufacturing industry, when environmental and financial advantage could be gained by doing so.

“Additive manufacturing is a hot area,” commented Per Nylen, director of technology research at University College West. “With Swerea investing in three different techniques for 3D printing metals, along with a new powder-bed laboratory at University College West and further ventures at Chalmers, we have created a strong platform for the industry. Together we can create tangible results for the Swedish industry while becoming a strong player internationally within the metal additive manufacturing scene.”

The three participants have recently received several new projects from the Vinnova Strategic Innovation Program, as well as 6 million SEK in funding from the European Regional Development Fund to construct the proposed powder-bed laboratory at University College West. The collaborative project looks as though it could soon be heightening the Scandinavian country’s presence in the global 3D printing scene.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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