Research and industry unite to revitalise Australian manufacturing

L-R: The Hon Tony Smith MP, Professor Xinhua Wu and Monash President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner.

L-R: The Hon Tony Smith MP, Professor Xinhua Wu and Monash President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner.

A $9 million research and development hub with the potential to boost Australian manufacturing by optimising 3D printing opened in Melbourne today.

Jointly funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and industrial partners, the ARC Research Hub for Transforming Australia’s Manufacturing Industry through High Value Additive Manufacturing, based at Monash University, will bring together experts from research and industry to transfer new technologies to a variety of industries such as aerospace and biomedical engineering.

Led by Professor Xinhua Wu, from the Department of Materials Engineering, the hub will focus on research and development projects for additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing.

The technology builds components from metal alloy powders by selective laser. Producing components from computer design files in one step, 3D printing produces parts rapidly and with minimal waste compared with current methods.

Officially opened by the Hon Tony Smith MP and ARC Chief Executive Officer, Professor Aidan Byrne, the hub will also train people in the skills needed to keep up with demand for this burgeoning technology.  

Professor Wu, an internationally recognised leader in her field who also heads the ARC Centre of Excellence for Design in Light Metals, said additive manufacturing could revitalise Australian manufacturing.

“Aerospace, biomedical and automotive industries are just a few of the sectors that are looking for new and innovative techniques to produce high-performance, complex engineered components," she said.

“Through this hub, researchers will work to resolve issues surrounding process optimisation to achieve all required mechanical properties in 3D printed metallic products that can be used commercially for flying or in the body. The aim is help boost Australia’s manufacturing industry by securing markets in high value sectors, such as aerospace and biomedical."

Partner organisations of the hub include Deakin University, the University of Queensland, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Safran-Microturbo SAS, Metallica Minerals Limited, A.W.Bell, Amaero Engineering Pty Ltd, International Seal Company (ISCA) Australia Pty Ltd, and Kinetic Engineering Services Pty Ltd.

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said the hub represented an important collaboration between the higher education sector and industry.

“This initiative will foster research and development projects that could help solve some of the big problems facing our industries today," Professor Gardner said.

“The support from the ARC and industry partners to create this hub means cutting-edge research on new technologies with the potential to lead to economic and social transformation is now achievable.” 

The ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme is designed to engage Australia's best researchers in issues facing the new industrial economies and training the future workforce.

For more information visit the ARC  Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme page on the ARC website.

Watch Professor Wu speak about her work.