Feb 2, 2017 | By Tess

The UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has just launched MAPP, a new Future Manufacturing Hub geared towards further developing advanced powder manufacturing processes. MAPP, which stands for Manufacture using Advanced Powder Processes, will seek to push forward research and technology in the field of powder-based manufacturing to reduce cost, energy consumption, and waste for high quality manufacturing techniques. MAPP’s research could help to advance powder-based additive manufacturing processes.

The launch event for the new Future Manufacturing Hub was attended by 150 guests from various industries, universities, Catapult centers, and sponsors. At the event, Iain Todd, MAPP Director and RAEng Chair Professor, spoke about the hub’s goals and visions for advanced powder processes. He also explained that MAPP is an interdisciplinary research programme.

“It’s an exciting time for powder based processes with new opportunities opening up rapidly in a range of key sectors including aerospace, energy, automotive and healthcare,” Todd explained. “However, there are still some fundamental scientific issues to be addressed before these technologies can be adopted more widely. MAPP brings together leading UK researchers, industry and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult to achieve right first time manufacturing for advanced powder processes and develop the next generation of manufacturing technologies.”

Iain Todd, MAPP Director and Royal Academy of Engineering Chair Professor

MAPP, as a EPSRC Future Manufacturing Hub, is ultimately seeking to conduct research that will help advance and secure British manufacturing productivity. “The EPSRC Future Manufacturing Hubs are key element in our approach to tackling the UK's productivity gap and solving some of the longer term challenges faced by the UK's manufacturing industry,” said Todd.

The event also featured a number of presentations by MAPP’s dedicated academic partners, which further emphasized how the hub’s research could indeed help push forward the UK manufacturing. One presentation, by Professor Peter Lee from the University of Manchester and the Research Complex at Harwell, specifically referenced the UK’s Diamond Light Source (a national synchrotron science facility), whose research is helping to reveal the “fundamental physics and chemistry” of new manufacturing technologies like 3D printing.

MAPP’s industry partners were also present and offered their insight on the opportunities for advanced powder processes, as well as challenges that are currently being faced in the field. For instance, Dr. Alison Wagland, Technology Manager at sustainable tech company Johnson Matthey, presented on the potential of powders in the production of catalysts for emission control, as well as of batteries for energy storage.

Global Head of Additive Manufacturing at GKN Aerospace, Dr. Rob Sharman, spoke about how metal 3D printing, especially within the aerospace industry, can be impacted by the creation of new advanced powder materials. AM company LPW Technology was also represented, as its CEO Dr. Phil Carroll addressed the need for “quality, traceability, and consistency” of powder materials.

Speaking of the event, Dr. Richard France, MAPP’s Senior Business Development Manager, concluded: “We've developed a strong vision and plan for MAPP together with our industry, academic and Catapult partners. Today has given us the opportunity to share our vision and plans for MAPP with a wider network so we can start to develop new opportunities for collaboration. The breadth of sectors attending and the feedback we've received demonstrates the appetite and need for MAPP.”

With the launch of the new UK Future Manufacturing Hub, we expect to see lots of new and exciting work coming out of MAPP, work which could potentially advance powder-based additive manufacturing processes.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Materials

 

 

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