3D Printing

IT Sligo Invests in 3D Systems Printers to Offer Free Prototyping to Small Businesses

The Institute of Technology Sligo is outfitting its prototyping laboratory with a new professional grade 3D Systems 3D printer and will grant local businesses free access to it in order to help familiarize themselves with the technology.

it sligo 3d orinting

The 3D printer was acquired with funds provided by CREST – the Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies – an EU funded cross-border project intended to help small businesses adopt or enhance new sustainable and renewable technologies and manufacturing techniques. IL Sligo has used CREST to team with South West College in Ireland, Dumfries and Galloway College and Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre in Scotland to bring free access to 3D printing and several other advanced manufacturing technologies to their respective small business communities and local entrepreneurs.

“The 3D printers allow us to help inventors, designers and entrepreneurs create prototype components for testing, verification and demonstration.” said IT Sligo CREST R&D coordinator Mel Gavin. “What we’re aiming for is to help the inventors to get their prototype fully designed for production.  We’ve already supported a number of local companies to develop products that are heading for the market.  It’s been very encouraging to see the level of innovation in companies and inventors in the region, and we want to help keep this going.”

crest 3d printing

IT Sligo’s new 3D printer is a 3D Systems ProJet 3500 HD Max. The multi jet printer will produce high quality plastic parts that can be used as working prototypes, to test new concepts and design adjustments or to simply create proof of concept designs. The ProJet will be located in the advanced prototyping lab located on IT Sligo’s Ireland campus.

The first dedicated CREST facility called the CREST Pavilion will be located at South West College in Enniskillen and will provide demonstration, development and testing facilities for new and emergent technologies including 3D printing. Each of the other partner institutes will also create CREST facilities in order to also offer these new technologies and services to local and regional small businesses at little to no cost.

Industrial knowledge transfer is very common between businesses and colleges, however many smaller businesses may be new to the idea or unaware that they are available to them, so CREST specifically targets these small and medium sized companies. Many of them may simply lack the resources, manpower or expertise to even consider exploring or applying new concepts, products or processes to their existing businesses. CREST is addressing this issue directly in order to strengthen the participating schools local small business communities and ultimately benefit local economies with more competitive and profitable businesses.