Jan 24, 2017 | By Tess

In 2015, Singapore launched its innovative National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), which aims to bolster and support the country’s 3D printing infrastructure. Founded by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the National University of Singapore (NUS), and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), the cluster has apparently made quite an impact on Singapore’s 3D printing and manufacturing sectors, as NAMIC has detailed in a recent release.

According to the release presented by NAMIC and NTU, the past year and a half has seen the cluster reach out to roughly 400 companies, both local and international, to help them adopt and integrate 3D printing technologies into their business. The additive manufacturing cluster has also provided joint funding for 39 projects that have brought businesses and academic research institutions together. As we’ve seen time and time again, the most innovative breakthroughs are often achieved when both industry and academic research are combined. In addition to the 39 projects already funded, NAMIC is preparing to fund up to 80 more.

One of the partnerships that NAMIC has supported, between NTU and a Singapore-based medical 3D printing startup, has been working towards a 3D printing technology that allows for tissue-based implants to be printed. According to NAMIC, the joint project has succeeded in creating a 3D printer that is capable of printing the support structure that living cells can then be inserted into to form a live tissue. Ultimately, the project could help to push forward regenerative medicine through the printing of organ tissues.

Another notable cooperation is between NTU’s Singapore Centre for 3D Printing and global inventions company Intellectual Ventures (IV), which are working together to develop a system for authenticating 3D printed products. So far, they have successfully demonstrated their unique identifier code system, called Embedded Identifier Module (EIM), in metal 3D printed prototypes. The potential of this project is massive, as it could provide an efficient and foolproof way for companies to authenticate specialized 3D printed parts.

The goal of NAMIC, as its Managing Director Dr. Ho Chaw Sing explains, is to promote cooperation between industry and research as well as to promote the adoption of 3D printing technologies in businesses that could benefit from it. "While 3D printing has taken off for customized products in the aerospace and biomedical industries, many local companies still find the barrier of entry quite high, due to the costly printers and a lack of expertise in additive manufacturing," Dr. Ho said.

He continued: “Our objectives are to reach, educate and help link these companies to scientists and engineers at research institutes, who already have existing 3D printing machines and the technical know-how. This way, we ensure that the innovative solutions developed through research will meet real business needs.”

Also supported by SPRING Singapore, an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry that is geared towards helping Singapore businesses grow, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster has an ambitious plan for the future, as it plans to reach out to more than 1,000 companies to help them improve their business and manufacturing processes with 3D printing technologies. Despite 3D printing still being relatively new to the manufacturing sector, NAMIC is confident it will help to introduce the quickly developing technology to all sorts of companies.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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