TSB announces funding for 3D printing projects

6 June 2013

Research and development projects using 3D printing techniques have received a funding boost from the UK Technology Strategy Board and three research councils.

The funding, worth £14.7m in total (including company investment of £6.3m) will see companies and business-led consortia undertake a wide range of collaborative R&D projects, in areas as diverse as:

  • a 'just in time' 'pizza box' style delivery of bespoke knee replacement parts and surgical instruments, with 3D printing/additive manufacturing techniques providing bespoke manufacture, high volume and low cost;
  • the production of orthotic insoles, with 3D printing replacing traditional hand-made techniques. The 3D printing manufacturing method allows shape of the insoles and properties of the materials to be altered to exactly match the needs of a patient's foot;
  • the development of specialist, combination glass/metal coatings for replacement hip joints, significantly reducing the need to secondary hip replacement surgery and potentially achieving significant savings for the NHS; and
  • a new micro-turbine, initially be targeted at the market for range extenders for electric vehicles, but also be suitable for micro-chip, concentrating solar power, and waste heat to power conversion

The funding will allow the winners to develop solutions in this technology area, known as additive manufacturing. It was announced by the secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, on a visit to the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, one of Technology Strategy Board's High Value Manufacturing catapult centres.

"Investing in tomorrow's technology will bring jobs and economic growth throughout the UK. That's why last month the Government announced the biggest ever investment in the work of the Technology Strategy Board. With £440 million of funding they will support new manufacturing techniques to maintain the UK's position as a world leader in technology and design. This joint investment with the Research Councils highlights the commitment from across the sector to boost manufacturing in the UK," said Mr Cable.



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