IMCRC, UTS, 3D printing research partnership hits one year milestone

A research partnership between the Innovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC), the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Downer’s Mineral Technologies has reached its one-year anniversary.

The project aims to develop custom 3D printed technologies for precision-engineered mineral separation and mining equipment. The idea of the project is to create mineral separation spirals, which can be produced with a 3D printer after individual models are created by Mineral Technologies.

Once up and running, the project hopes to print on site and as required, to save cost and lead-time.

According to Alex de Andrade, UTS associate professor and global manager, sales, equipment and technology for Mineral Technologies, the past twelve months have set the project up for further development.

“In the first year, we designed a small printer and machinery code as well as printed a scaled version of our selected spiral model. We are now into the cost and wear testing comparisons and in parallel we are building the full-scale bespoke prototype printer,” said de Andrade.

Working out of UTS’s Rapido, an advanced technology development unit, the project has all the core components of innovative manufacturing, according to UTS Rapido director Hervé Harvard.

“The project is a world-class innovation in the area of Industry 4.0, particularly Additive Manufacturing and IoT sensing, specific to what the project has achieved. Working with such an innovative team at Mineral Technologies is refreshing and shows that Australia can be a leader in adopting Industry 4.0 principles for global impact,” said Harvard.

One outcome that the team have already achieved is applying for a patent for Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, which go towards the project’s Industry 4.0 goals.

With IMCRC facilitating the project, the leadership of the program has been a collaboration between industry and the university, something that David Chuter, CEO and managing director of IMCRC welcomed.

“This exceptional project takes industry-led research collaboration to the next level. Within a year we have seen Mineral Technologies and UTS form a team that ‘collaborates to innovate’ and deliver on milestones. Seeing a 3D printed version of their selected spiral model puts it into perspective,” said Chuter.