HP, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore), and the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF), have officially opened the HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab with 3D printing technologies.
Inaugurated at NTU Singapore earlier this week, this lab offers skills development programs aimed at training others in additive manufacturing and digital design. Furthermore, new design software tools are being developed by the lab for material optimization.
Mike Regan, Director, HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab spoke with 3D Printing Industry about the type of technologies being developed at the newly established facility. “HP’s voxel control allows designers to break objects down to the smallest nuances of shape, color, and function and apply them with microscopic precision, creating endless possibilities,” Regan told us.
“These tools allow us to specify a combination of properties in these voxels, achieving the desired strength, flexibility, and weight in different sections of the applications.”
The HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab
The HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab was first announced in 2018 with an estimated value of $84 million. It is HP’s first university laboratory collaboration in Asia and its largest university collaboration worldwide. This lab also follows the company’s decision to set up its Singaporean headquarters at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC).
With aim of supporting research development, the HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab has a particular focus on 3D printing as well as new materials and applications, such as advanced polymers, 3D bioprinting of tissues and 4D printing. Over 60 researchers and engineers are also exploring AI, cybersecurity, and machine learning, i.e., developing self-correction systems for 3D printers.
Elaborating on the work within the lab, Regan said, “There is no name for the tools yet as they are still in the R&D phase, [but they] allow an object’s materials’ mechanical properties to be customized and optimized.”
“The tools’ artificial intelligence let us specify a combination of properties, achieving the desired strength, flexibility, and weight [and] cover the entire ‘part to part pipeline’; that is, from design to geometry definition to material distribution and finally generate the printer file to be sent to HP’s 3D printer.”
Advancing additive manufacturing applications
Presently, a research project exploring advanced business models and analytics to model supply chains is being conducted in the hopes of decreasing the time required to identify parts suitable for mass production using additive manufacturing.
Moreover, six new SkillsFuture short courses related to 3D printing have been launched for upskilling Singaporean workforces in 3D printing. Thus, the HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate strives to train some 120 working professionals a year through the new skills development program.
Regan added, “Broadly, we see the tools being used in the creation of a variety of applications – from mass customized goods such as footwear, eyewear, dental aligners, to high-performance mechanical applications, for example, parts which require a high strength to weight ratio or parts with specified distortion characteristics under a known set of loads.”
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Featured image shows the official opening of the HP-NTU Corporate Lab. (From left) NRF Singapore Executive Director Lim Tuang Liang; NTU Senior Vice President (Research) Prof Lam Khin Yong; HP Inc CTO Shane Wall; HP Inc Chief Technologist, Print, Glen Hopkins. Photo via NTU Singapore.