May 26, 2014 7:31 pm JST

Singapore university setting up 3-D printing lab with German company

MAYUKO TANI, Nikkei staff writer

SINGAPORE -- Nanyang Technological University, one of Singapore's leading national universities, is establishing a 3-D printing laboratory with German industry leader SLM Solutions.

     The lab will form part of the university's new 3-D printing research center. The school hopes to help keep Singapore at the forefront of 3-D printing development. The research center, dubbed NTU Additive Manufacturing Center, or NAMC, will have a budget of 30 million Singapore dollars (about $24 million) for the next five years.

     The joint laboratory with SLM, called SLM Solutions@NAMC, is to be founded with a S$5 million investment. It will focus on the use of 3-D printing technology in medical devices and tissue printing. The aim is to develop next-generation equipment that can print large parts and new types of materials; another goal is to create printers that can turn out multiple materials.

     SLM is the leading manufacturer of 3-D printers that can produce highly complex metal components using fine metal powders, drawing from 3-D computer-aided-design data.

     Speaking about NAMC, professor and NTU President Bertil Anderson, said: "Our new additive manufacturing center not only aims to collaborate with industry to develop innovative, practical solutions but also brings together the best talents in the fields."

     NAMC also has tie-ups with companies including Singapore's Keppel, one of the world's top offshore oil rig builders, U.S.-based Molex, a connector maker, and American 3-D printer maker Stratasys. NTU expects many more industry collaborations to follow.