Bernie Goldie

AdFab promises a manufacturing renewal

A conference being held in Wollongong on April 23 and 24 will give Illawarra businesses a chance to learn how new technologies and materials can be at the heart of a manufacturing renewal.

The AdFab 2012 conference – the first conference of its type in Wollongong – will feature the recently commissioned Additive Fabrication (3D printing) equipment available for businesses looking to reduce delays and costs associated with prototyping and manufacturing.

The applications for additive fabrication are now enabling businesses to rapidly prototype and develop new products and devices used in medicine, aerospace, automotive, defence, electronics, optics, communications and consumer goods.

The new technology is vast in its range allowing even for body parts to be “printed”.

The conference is being staged by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) at UOW. It will be held at the new AIIM Processing and Devices Facility on the Innovation Campus.

Participants will hear how other companies have succeeded in using Additive Fabrication technology to their advantage.

Businesses that are able to successfully integrate this technology into their value chain have been proved to have the ability to compete more effectively and competitively in domestic and global markets, according to the Director of Strategic Development at ACES, Chris Gilbey.

Fabrication expert and conference organiser Dr Stephen Beirne said Additive Fabrication allows 3D objects, including those with moving parts, to be swiftly printed through a design on a computer.

“Additive Fabrication prints layer upon layer upon layer until an object is built. A variety of materials can be used including metals and functional conducting materials,” Dr Beirne said.

The conference will feature leading manufacturing experts such as the Head of New Product Industrialisation at Cochlear, Alban Savage; Lead Engineer Materials at ResMed, James Morrison; and Managing Director of the Advanced Manufacturing CRC, Bruce Grey.

“We will explore the relative competitiveness of Additive Manufacturing over traditional manufacturing, Mr Savage said.

“We will look at the cost and beyond into customisation, time and so on, showing applications in different markets.”

The conference will involve a hands-on workshop on day two allowing participants direct experience working with the technology with manufacturers on site to answer any questions.

See website for further information about this inaugural conference.


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  • Dr Robert Gorkin (left) and Dr Stephen Beirne pictured with new hi-tech manufacturing equipment in the Processing and Devices Facility at the Innovation Campus

  • A small wire frame support structure demonstrates the vast range of items that can be “printed” (the coin here used as a guide to size)