GE Additive evidently sees potential for some additive manufacturing innovation Down Under. The AM giant has signed a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Sydney to bolster the establishment of a metal additive manufacturing ecosystem in Australia.
As part of the MoU, GE Additive will provide funding up to $1 million per year over the next 10 years to the University of Sydney to go towards R&D and accelerating the adoption of metal AM in Australia. The investment will cover a broad range of research areas, including materials, powder technologies, sensor technology and image processing analytics.
“This MoU builds on the University’s world-class expertise in the disciplines essential to advanced manufacturing such as materials engineering and integrated digital systems,” said Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr. Michael Spence. “By partnering with GE Additive, an industry leader in additive manufacturing, we can set the agenda for this disruptive technology and ensure that Australia is primed to both participate in, and contribute to, this exciting next phase of the industrial revolution.
“The collaboration will drive the R&D needed to learn how this disruption to manufacturing can be harnessed for economic benefit. We are especially delighted that this initiative aligns with our plan to establish a new campus at Parramatta/ Westmead, where advanced manufacturing will be a key focus.”
The facility referenced by Dr. Spence will be a 1,000 square meter research facility dedicated to additive manufacturing and advanced materials processing. The facility will enable University of Sydney researchers to pursue innovative projects pertaining to various industries, including aerospace, transport, biomedical and defense sectors.
“We are creating an environment for our researchers to explore the limits of what materials can do, how they are structured and how to make them,” elaborated Professor Simon Ringer, Director of Core Research Facilities at the University of Sydney. “Establishing a world-class capability in Darlington/Camperdown is a key step for our grand plans for Advanced Manufacturing in Paramatta/Westmead.”
The MoU between GE Additive and the university will also focus on the development of new applications for additive manufacturing which could benefit the Australian economy and businesses. The cooperation will also provide both parties with access to the other’s local and global networks of academic, industry and government stakeholders.
Notably, the MoU also includes a master research agreement, which addresses three key areas. The first, materials and powder technologies, covers alloy design, alloy modification, powder characterization, powder characteristic process response identification, post-processing optimization and materials gaps in repairs.
The second area is focused on sensing technologies and advanced material characterization. This master research segment will build on the University of Sydney’s existing know-how of electron microscopy and will leverage GE Additive’s Arcam EBM technology. The third area will address image processing and data analytics.
“We were immediately impressed by the University of Sydney’s vision for additive manufacturing—not just at an academic level, but also because they understand the positive impact this technology can have on Australia’s economy and its workforce in the very near future,” commented Debbra Rogers, chief commercial officer of GE Additive. “Additive requires a completely different way of engineering and thinking.
“Educating and training current workforces with new skills and also getting more engineers into additive takes time and programs need to be developed over a number of years. The University of Sydney recognizes this and that in order to build the right mindset, the right skills, the right materials we need to encourage close collaboration between companies, academia and governments.”