Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) is partnering two leading firms to develop more reliable ways of producing aerospace components using 3D printing and to develop new methods of printing human tissue.
Today, the university’s Singapore Centre for 3D Printing signed Research Collaboration Agreements (RCAs) with home-grown Singapore Technologies Aerospace Ltd (ST Aerospace) and Germany’s Evonik Health Care Business Line.
ST Aerospace, a global service provider that provides integrated Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and engineering services to the aviation industry, will be working with NTU scientists on two new research projects.
One project aims to develop more consistent and reliable ways to 3D print aerospace parts using a technology known as Directed Energy Deposition (DED), which is a process specifically used to print 3D models from metals and alloys.
The other project that NTU and ST Aerospace will be working on seeks to identify the factors affecting the quality of a 3D-printed polymer part during the printing process.
With Evonik, a world leader in speciality chemicals with a presence in over 100 countries, NTU will research and develop a new type of bio-ink for 3D bioprinting.
Bio-ink consists of living cells and nutrients that allows 3D printing of living tissue. 3D printers use bio-ink to print a supporting structure layer by layer while inserting living cells at the same time. This forms a live tissue that could aid in regeneration of particular tissues or organs.
NTU Chief of Staff and Vice President (Research) Professor Lam Khin Yong, said the new research partnership is built on NTU’s strong track record in industry research and deep expertise in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing.
“NTU scientists have been at the forefront of additive manufacturing for the last two decades. Combined with industry expertise from ST Aerospace and Evonik’s Health Care Business Line, NTU will help translate 3D printing technologies for mainstream manufacturing processes, contributing to Singapore‘s standing as a leading research and development hub for additive manufacturing.”
Chief Technology Officer of ST Aerospace Mr Lim Tau Fuie, said, “ST Aerospace has over the years built up a wealth of knowledge in engineering and in the stringent requirements of aviation authorities. Our collaboration with NTU will combine the vast industrial knowledge and experience that ST Aerospace has with NTU’s research and capabilities in additive manufacturing to further advance 3D printing technologies from research to the market with robust and practical solutions for the aviation industry.”
Vice President of Innovation Management of Evonik’s Health Care Business Line Dr StefanRandl, said: “Evonik is a leading solution provider to the Pharmaceutical and the Medical Device industries thanks to a broad range of enabling products and services. In our joint research project with NTU, we will combine our broad portfolio and knowledge with NTU’s world-class 3D-bioprinting expertise to develop new bioinks with the potential to offer new therapeutic solutions in the growing areas of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.”
NTU’s Singapore Centre for 3D Printing is well-placed to lead the university’s efforts in pioneering innovative 3D printing technologies. Funded by the National Research Foundation, Singapore, it is the nation’s leading research centre in additive manufacturing.
Launched in 2016, the centre aims to develop additive manufacturing and precision engineering technologies as well as to establish industry standards for 3D printing.
Such cutting-edge technologies will support Singapore’s key industry sectors such as Aerospace and Defence, Marine and Offshore, and Building and Construction.
With an industry focus, the centre’s partners include top firms like ST Engineering, Keppel Offshore & Marine Technology Centre (KOMtech), Sembcorp Design and Construction, and Emerson Process Management, as well as local SMEs and start-up companies.
It is led by Professor Chua Chee Kai, the world’s most cited scientist in 3D printing technologies and is home to over 100 researchers, including Masters and PhD students.