Nov 30, 2017 | By Tess

Russia’s Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) has officially launched its new Additive Manufacturing Laboratory (AM Lab). The state-of-the-art facility is equipped with a range of 3D printing technologies, including metal, ceramic, and polymer-based systems.

(Image: Sk.ru)

The new AM Lab, which is part of Skoltech’s Center for Design, Manufacturing and Materials (CDMM), was inaugurated through an elaborate opening ceremony this past Tuesday, which was attended by over one hundred members of the Russian and international 3D printing industries.

According to Fardad Azarmi, a mechanical engineering professor at North Dakota State University who helped bring the Skoltech AM Lab to life, the 3D printing facility will be aimed at promoting additive technologies within Russia and abroad.

Insstek MX 1000 large-scale metal 3D printer

Currently, Skoltech’s AM Lab houses a range of 3D printing technologies including the Insstek MX 1000, the largest metal 3D printer in Russia with applications in the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries; the Trumpf TruPrint 1000, a metal 3D printer with high accuracy and efficiency; 3DCeram’s Ceramaker 900, a SLA-based ceramic 3D printer which can print hard and durable parts from a range of ceramic materials; and the Plastic Projet 3D printer, which will primarily be used for prototyping purposes.

Azarmi commented, “In particular, the metal and ceramic 3D printers are unique and in very high demand, and I’m sure they’ll attract interest from industry.”

Iskander Akhatov, director of Skoltech's Center for Design, Manufacturing and Materials

(Image: Sk.ru)

Through collaborations with Swiss tech company Oerlikon and the Technical University of Munich (TUM)—which have signed a non-binding cooperation agreement—Skoltech is planning to grow its AM Lab facility in the future and to use its resources to “bridge the gaps between academia and industry.”

As part of this cooperation, Oerlikon is expected to supply the AM Lab with its own 3D printing equipment sometime in the next year.

On a more general note, however, Skoltech’s AM Lab will be aimed at bolstering innovation within the fields of engineering and manufacturing. As Iskander Akhatov, director of CDMM, said: “I think there is a lack of basic research today; researchers in this field often just do simple engineering.”

3D prints produced at Skoltech's AM Lab

(Image: Sk.ru)

“Our goal is to explore the possibilities of these technologies in a comprehensive way, to understand the right application of these technologies, and the right regimes and methodologies of using them,” he added.

Still, and as was discussed at the center’s inauguration, just having state-of-the-art equipment isn’t enough to bring about innovation, as it also relies on experienced and knowledgable operators. In the case of the AM Lab, Akhatov said it was a challenge to find a suitable team, but in the end it was a success.

Trumpf TruPrint 1000 metal 3D printer

“It can be easy to underestimate the importance of the people working in a lab, and focus instead on the equipment,” explained Florian Mauerer, Oerlikon’s senior vice president and head of additive manufacturing.

“But talking to the people in the AM Lab, it was clear that this is a very strong group. They were very knowledgeable and also very passionate. In my opinion, that’s more important than just having great machines,” he said.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Service

 

 

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