UTS develops technology to transform metal manufacturing

metal manufacturing

UTS is working with Australian start-up SPEE3D to make metal manufacturing faster and more efficient. Image: UTS

UTS engineers have developed a new rapid prototyping unit which is helping industry, government and not-for-profit partners translate their innovative ideas and complex problems into viable products and solutions.

Dubbed Rapido, the unit is said to have abilities ranging from taking the hassle out of pool maintenance to automating a speedy 3D printer for the metal manufacturing industry.

The engineering team will soon commence a project with Australian start-up SPEE3D that could transform metal manufacturing. While production of metal parts has traditionally been done by carving specific components from different sized blocks of metal, SPEE3D has developed a high-speed, fully-automated 3D metal printer that would instead build up parts using metal powder.

“The technology to 3D print metal is not new, but it currently involves a manual step, which makes it costly and time-consuming,” said SPEE3D co-founder and CEO Byron Kennedy in a comment to UTS.

Currently, 3D printing and traditional metal casting create an approximate version of the final part, requiring an additional step of machining to refine the end product. SPEE3D aims to automate this step using Rapido to implement a machine vision process to the printer using 3D scanning.

According to Kennedy, the SPEE3D technology is already 100 to 1000 times faster than conventional metal 3D printing, and use of the rapid prototyping unit will further speed up post processing.

The collaboration between SPEE3D and Rapido has been granted funding from the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre.