Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, and its research partners have been awarded $1 million AUD towards a $3.5 million project to produce 3D printed composites on an industrial scale.
Awarded via the Global Innovation Linkages Program, the money will go towards the development and mass 3D printing production of lightweight composite parts like in Swinburne’s Industry 4.0 Testlab. The end products will be suitable for the aerospace and automotive sectors.
Swinburne Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Aleksandar Subic, comments, “The Global Innovation Program Linkage grant recognizes our leadership in Industry 4.0 transformation of the advanced manufacturing sector through collaboration with our partners in Australia and Germany.”
“I am pleased that our research team, led by Professor Bronwyn Fox, has secured this support to expand the scope and reach of their high impact technologies and processes.”
Multilayer composite 3D printing
In this project, the Swinburne team will apply a recently developed method of carbon fiber 3D printing, termed ‘Multilayer.’ Delivered by Fill, a specialist machinery and plant construction company headquartered in Austria, Multilayer 3D printing works by thermally bonding successive layers of tape feedstock, producing semi-finished fiber composites. These machines can also be integrated into an existing forming and injection moulding processes allowing for a very high production rate.
Aiding in the development of these products are multiple Australian and global companies, like composite manufacturing specialist Quickstep, and ARENA2036, the “Active Research Environment for the Next Generation of Automobiles” in Stuttgart.
A global research effort
The new funding further strengthens Swinburne’s position within the automotive 3D printing sector. Prior to receiving this $1 million grant the university was also awarded $1,264,695 AUD to develop an automated 3D printed repair service for cars as part of the ‘Repairbot’ project, which is backed by the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC).
“Designing and developing Swinburne’s Industry 4.0 Testlab for 3D printing of composites with our industry and research partners is one of the key strategies of the Manufacturing Futures Research Institute, founded two years ago,” comments Director of the Manufacturing Futures Research Institute, Professor Bronwyn Fox, who will be the research director of the composite program.
“Our international network of industrially connected researchers enables us to create new global business opportunities for advanced manufacturers in Australia.”
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Featured image shows Professor Bronwyn Fox, Director of the Manufacturing Futures Research Institute at Swinburne University, and a team from ARENA2036, Stuttgart. Photo via