HP, NRF and NTU Singapore open $84 million advanced 3D printing lab

Global technology company HP has founded a new specialist 3D printing research and development lab in Singapore. Housed within Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU), the HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab has been launched through collaboration with the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF).

With an estimated value of $84 million, the lab comes almost one year after HP set up its headquarters in the region at an expenditure of $74 million.

“Corporate laboratories are an integral part of our strategy to anchor joint R&D partnerships between our universities and companies in areas that have direct relevance to the growth of industries in Singapore,” said Professor Low Teck Seng, CEO of the NRF.

“The HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Laboratory is significant to our long-term competitiveness in the advanced manufacturing sector, and ensures that we stay relevant in the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is evolving and growing rapidly world-wide.”

Photos from the official opening of the HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab. Image via NTU
Photos from the official opening of the HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab. Image via NTU

Materials, AI and cybersecurity

HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab is a public-private partnership and seeks to support the university’s research efforts across digital manufacturing with a particular focus on 3D printing. According to NTU, the lab will support 100 researchers and staff working across 15 projects in the following areas of interest:

– New materials and applications: including advanced polymers, 3D bioprinting of tissues and 4D printing
– Artificial intelligence and machine learning: developing self-correction systems for 3D printers
– Cybersecurity: “to improve end-to-end point security infrastructure and malware mitigation”

This lab is reportedly HP’s largest university research collaboration in the world, and its first collaboration of this kind within Asia.

Cobots inside HP's new Smarc. Photo via HP
Cobots inside HP’s Smart Manufacturing Applications and Research Centre opened 2017. Photo via HP

Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020

The NRF’s support of the HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab falls under Singapore’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 Plan. This plan, according to the official NRF introduction to the initiative, aims to establish and sustain Singapore’s status “as a global research and development (R&D) hub.”

From 2016 to 2020 the Singapore government will invest S$19 billion in project for the RIE2020 Plan. Mr. S Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Trade & Industry who opened HP’s regional HQ in Singapore in 2017, says that S$3.2 billion of this fund has been allocated to furthering R&D efforts in advanced manufacturing.

3D printing at NTU

Professor Subra Suresh is President at NTU. According to Professor Suresh, “NTU has established deep capabilities and is a recognized leader in the areas of machine learning, data science and additive manufacturing. These cutting-edge technologies are now an integral part of NTU’s education and research ecosystem, and the NTU Smart Campus serves as a test bed for them.”

Some recent 3D printing projects at the university includes construction with recycled fly-ash cementsynchronized mobile robots (also for construction), and an automotive material development project with PTT Chemical Group.

“Together with HP Inc., a renowned innovator and leader in the tech industry,” Professor Suresh adds, “NTU seeks to address today’s fundamental challenges with solutions that will benefit both industry and society in Singapore and the world, such as developing automation that is capable of boosting manufacturing productivity.”

The latest news from HP is the launch of its Metal Jet 3D printing technology.

HP Metal Jet 3D printer systems. Photo via HP
HP Metal Jet 3D printer systems. Photo via HP

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Featured image shows HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printed keyrings. Photo via Multistation