ANCA develops 3D printer to disrupt $2.2 billion market

Photo: ANCA Australia

Melbourne-based ANCA Australia has developed a hybrid 3D printing platform to manufacture custom designed machining tools. The manufacturer will collaborate with CSIRO and Sutton Tools to improve the 3D printing process before taking it to market, with support from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC).

“Australia’s future prosperity lies in advanced manufacturing, in making complex things. It is the answer to many of the challenges that face us be it energy, efficiency, resources, productivity and value,” managing director of AMGC, Jens Goennemann, said.

“What ANCA, CSIRO and Sutton Tools have developed is a better value product that uses less raw material, is more durable and is manufactured here.”

The new manufacturing platform uses additive-subtractive manufacturing (3D printing) to provide custom designed Tungsten-carbide cutting tools in a single machine. The machine will be able to manufacture tools more economically for the global $2.2 billion cutting tool market.

The project builds on previous research and development between ANCA and CSIRO through a six-month pilot program funded by the Victorian Government’s Boost Your Business voucher scheme.

Together, ANCA and CSIRO demonstrated that the tools could be made cheaper through improved production efficiencies compared to traditional Tungsten products.

“ANCA’s project is a perfect example of how collaboration can find solutions to complex issues. In this instance the collaboration of two leading Australian companies and the country’s preeminent research institution to deliver an innovative solution to a multi-billion dollar global market,” Goennemann said.

Successful completion of the project, supported with funding from the AMGC, will enable ANCA to commercialise the new hybrid additive manufacturing machine platform while growing its workforce, revenue and fulfilling a gap in the global tooling market, to which it already supplies Airbus, Boeing, Renishaw and Fraisa.

“Such a complex project and process wouldn’t be possible without the support of trusted partners such as CSIRO, Sutton Tools and AMGC,” ANCA’s research and technology manager, Dean McBain, said.

“We rely on working with organisations like CSIRO who have the laboratory, equipment and knowledge that we do not have. Sutton Tools are also hugely important as they provide practical input from the end-user perspective. Collaborating with others is vital and it makes sense to partner with organisations like them.”

“Similarly, AMGC is pretty much the only organisation that can provide funding assistance for a business of our size, apart from the much larger CRC-type projects, which need to run for two to three years. In terms of balancing what is applicable, AMGC works out perfectly for us,” McBain said.