$2.15 million towards NSW’s fabrication future

Photo: ANFF

NSW government has awarded $2.15 million to strengthen the Australian National Fabrication Facility’s advanced materials process, 3D printing and 3D bioprinting capabilities.

The ANFF Materials Node, headquartered at the University of Wollongong, will utilise the funding to take the next steps towards manufacturing commercial opportunities through advanced materials and 3D printing.

“For the ANFF Materials Node, this announcement unlocks access to state-of-the-art materials synthesis and fabrication equipment,” ANFF Materials Node director, distinguished professor Gordon Wallace, said.

“These procurements will ensure we stay at the forefront of global advances in new materials and their deployment in devices for energy and medical technologies.”

The facility will leverage funding to enable expansion, including the building of industry-standard process lines to assist the commercialisation of novel semiconductor products, bioprinting, and quantum technologies; to enhance additive and subtractive manufacturing suites; and to acquire or upgrade advanced patterning, etching, and deposition equipment for specific materials.

This is in addition to supporting the operating costs of hundreds of pieces of existing equipment, approximately 40 staff, and a network of open access laboratory and clean room spaces that are used by hundreds of researchers and engineers each year.

Over the past few years, micro and nanofabrication capabilities available in NSW have helped Sydney become a world-leading quantum hub, with expertise in the 3D printing of biological material for clinical applications; developing printable solar panels that could turn struggling printing companies into manufacturers of affordable clean energy technologies; and producing award winning communication technologies that could speed up download speeds without having to replace existing infrastructure.

ANFF provides open access to micro and nanofabrication equipment and expertise at 21 locations across Australia. Six of these locations are embedded with NSW universities.

It been awarded the funding across six of its sites, as part of an overall $8 million boost to NSW’s research sector provided by the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer.

It will be used to complement support provided by the National Commonwealth Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) in 2018 – which totalled $36.6 million in the national ANFF network – as well as significant funds from the six NSW universities that offer ANFF equipment.