Additive Manufacturing is poised to elevate the Australian Advanced Manufacturing sector’s global competitiveness and sustainability.
What is additive manufacturing?
Additive manufacturing (AM) has been described as a manufacturing revolution. The process allows for the creation of complex three- dimensional objects by adding and then bonding material layer by layer. Metals, polymers, composites and almost any material can be run through these automated platforms, from the nano scale right up to the printing of houses. In 2022 over $US18 billion was invested in AM & 3D printing equipment. Companies are utilising AM as a competitive advantage in their next generation of products and services.
Since its inception in the early 1990s AM has rapidly transformed the product development cycle across all industry sectors. Building parts one slice at a time, has sparked a wave of creativity and introduced transformative business models. From discrete aligners for straightening teeth to lightweight titanium wheels on the Mars Rover, AM has inspired a new generation of innovation and products.
Australia’s exceptional access to a wide range of high-value critical minerals, metals, and bio-based materials, coupled with ever more affordable renewable energy provides unique opportunities for manufacturing growth. By strategically capitalizing on these resource strengths and addressing cost and sustainability challenges, AM at scale can position Australian industry as technology leaders.
The development and application of next generation AM technologies coupled with innovation and capability building will be the catalyst for this growth and transformation and will be the focus of the Additive Manufacturing CRC.
AM is a cutting-edge technology that facilitates economical yet high-value production, characterised by new levels of product personalisation. This transformative capability empowers Australia to swiftly shift towards sustainability, embracing eco-friendly, carbon-conscious, and circular manufacturing practices to cater to global supply chains and targeted export markets.
AM embodies sustainability by fostering the creation of environmentally-responsible products. This is achieved through the reduction of weight and integration of functionalities within intricately shaped components. Furthermore, AM leverages novel bio-derived and recycled materials, alongside renewable energy sources, to drive innovation in zero-waste, zero-emission AM products and processes.