The 2023 NAMIC Global AM Summit will showcase Divergent 3D, Pelagus 3D, and more.


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The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC)’s Global AM Summit in Singapore is drawing a diverse international audience, with the goal of positioning Singapore as a key player in the additive manufacturing (AM) industry. Singapore, known for its strong financial, tourism, transportation, and manufacturing sectors, aims to become a central hub for the 3D printing industry as well. The summit kicked off with Dr. Ho Chaw Sing, CEO of NAMIC, highlighting Singapore’s contributions to 3D printing technology. He stressed the importance of manufacturing lightweight components on demand and reducing the carbon footprint of parts for global sustainability. In his opinion, 3D printing not only advances Singapore’s position, but also contributes to a more sustainable world.

Following Dr. Ho Chaw Sing’s speech, Alvin Tan, Minister of State for the Ministry of Trade & Industry, took the stage to discuss how 3D printing opens up three transformative avenues: supply chain resilience, sustainability, and innovation. Tan emphasized the relevance of resilience for Singapore, considering its status as a globally connected city vulnerable to external shocks. He provided real-world examples to illustrate the impact of 3D printing on sustainability and innovation, including the success of Osteopore, whose technology has benefited over 80,000 patients. Tan also highlighted the growing adoption of 3D printing among Singaporean businesses, with usage increasing by 30% over the past two years and now involving 200 companies. He mentioned innovative local initiatives that leverage 3D printing for sustainability, such as repurposing construction waste into park benches and creating copper 3D-printed marine ship propellers.

Another notable initiative in Singapore is the Additive Innovation Center, a collaborative effort between local and international businesses to advance research, implementation, and industrialization in the field of AM. The center’s current partners include AM materials firm Star3D, and its aim is to accelerate the adoption of 3D printing not only in Singapore but globally.

The summit also featured the unveiling of Pelagus 3D, a joint venture between marine resupply leader Wilhelmsen and steel giant thyssenkrupp. Both companies have been involved in 3D printing activities in Singapore for several years, including the use of drones to deliver parts to offshore facilities. Pelagus 3D aims to produce 3D-printed parts for the marine industry, both in Singapore and abroad, and will incorporate a digital warehousing platform for on-demand ordering of spare parts. With the extensive expertise and reach of Wilhelmsen and thyssenkrupp, Pelagus 3D has the potential to become a significant player in the 3D printing sector. The marine maintenance, repair, and operations market provides a vast opportunity for the company to become an industry leader, even with a limited product range. Over time, the venture could expand and leverage its substantial resources to become a major player, particularly since there is currently a lack of focus on 3D printing within the marine industry.

After the launch of the Additive Innovation Center, Michael Kenworthy, CTO of AM Technologies at Divergent 3D, took the stage. He expressed pride in his team’s achievement of producing a road-legal, homologated vehicle with just 40 engineers. Kenworthy highlighted Divergent 3D’s system-level approach to 3D printing, which sets the company apart and makes the technology production-relevant. The Czinger 21 hypercar, developed by Divergent 3D, exemplifies this approach with its 400 3D-printed aluminum parts. These large components are assembled from 30 to 40 individual pieces.

The Global AM Summit in Singapore showcases the advancements and possibilities of 3D printing, drawing attention to Singapore’s efforts in becoming a key player in the industry. The event highlights the importance of sustainability, innovation, and supply chain resilience, with various companies and initiatives contributing to the growth and development of 3D printing on a global scale. With the support of both governmental and private entities, Singapore is well-positioned to solidify its role as a pivotal center for additive manufacturing.

I was fortunate enough to attend the NAMIC Global AM Summit recently, and I walked away with a fresh perspective on the 3D printing industry and its potential impact on the world. The event went beyond mere technology and materials, connecting 3D printing to broader global and national issues.

One company that stood out to me was Divergent 3D. CEO Kevin Kenworthy shared their innovative approach to manufacturing components. They have developed their own topology optimization software that creates structures optimized for 3D printing and robotic assembly. What impressed me the most was their universal, fixture-less assembly process, which allows them to seamlessly switch between manufacturing drone parts and car parts without any changes or tooling. This level of flexibility and productivity is truly remarkable.

Kenworthy also mentioned Divergent 3D’s collaboration with General Atomics on drones. Through this partnership, they have integrated ducting, fuel tanks, and engine mounting into large 3D-printed components. They are currently 3D printing one drone per day, using 24-hour printing cycles and their own powder, producing around 30 kilograms of materials. The cost reduction achieved by Divergent 3D compared to traditional AM methods is impressive, aiming for a 10- to 15-fold reduction.

Speaking of cost reduction, Divergent 3D’s integration of components such as ducting has resulted in a staggering 45-fold reduction in part count. This has also increased production speed by tenfold, with a 50% reduction in variable costs and development time and expenses. These numbers are a testament to the effectiveness of their approach.

Moving on to the medical field, Frontier Bio’s CEO Eric Bennett shared their use of electrospinning to create biological scaffolds. These scaffolds, seeded with human cells, can grow an extracellular matrix and replace animal studies in medical testing. Another interesting technique discussed was the use of gallium as a sacrificial mold to create blood vessels suitable for testing.

Kosmode Health’s Co-Founder, Professor Huang Dejian, presented their innovative approach to making edible scaffolds from prolamins found in wheat and other seeds. This has the potential to revolutionize the way we produce scaffolds for tissue engineering.

Dr. Dhiraj Singh from Umami Bioworks raised the issue of unsustainable growth in seafood demand and the resulting depletion of fish stocks. This highlights the need for alternative solutions, such as cellular agriculture and tissue engineering, to meet the growing demand for seafood.

In the realm of sustainable urban solutions, Arthur Huang, the CEO of MINIWIZ, discussed the transformation of waste into new objects. Examples included turning CDs into building facades and milk cartons into store interiors. Shaun Wu from Witteveen+Bos highlighted the benefits of 3D printing in construction, such as customizable designs, greater design freedom, streamlined workflows, and reduced labor and material consumption.

Arik Kaufman, CEO of Steakholder Foods, introduced his company’s 3D printing solution aimed at increasing food production efficiency. Kaufman envisions a future where slaughterhouses resemble Apple Stores in their design and operation, eliminating cruelty from the equation.

The NAMIC Global AM Summit truly provided a broad and insightful view of the possibilities and profitability of 3D printing, as well as ways to enhance urban sustainability. It connected the technology to important global and national issues, offering a fresh perspective on the industry and its potential impact on the world.

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“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”


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