An Aussie Alliance comprising of The University of Technology Sydney’s (UTS) advanced development unit – Rapido announced collaboration with Downer Group’s Mineral Technologies business and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) to examine the use of 3D printing technology in making mining equipment.
Rapido is UTS’s new rapid prototyping unit in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology. It’s helping industry, government and not-for-profit partners translate innovative ideas and complex problems into viable products and solutions, like a high-speed, fully-automated 3D metal printer and swimming pools that self-monitor and diagnose the condition of the water.
On the other hand, IMCRC is a cooperative Research Centre that helps Australian companies increase their global relevance through research-led innovation in manufacturing products, processes and services whereas Mineral Technologies, is the New York headquartered, mining subsidiary of Australian integrated services company, Downer Group. The partnership between the three groups is poised to revolutionise the mining industry of Australia.
Speaking about the alliance, Alex de Andrade, Associate Professor with UTS said, “This project will define an accelerated deposition and curing technique for AM which will hasten the way in which composite polymers are deposited to manufacture our mineral separation equipment, in particular, gravity spirals”.
“We expect to see positive environmental impacts, such as decreasing the need for chemicals and reducing air contamination, which will significantly improve the operational environment for our manufacturing workforce,” added Andrade.
With more and more industries anticipating the increase in automation and implementation of 3D printing capacity, the manufacturing sector is readying itself for drastic changes to help lower production costs and reduce waste.
Offering details of how 3D printing will help revolutionise the mining industry, David Chutter, Chief Executive and Managing Director at IMCRC said, “3D printing will not only revolutionize the process of manufacturing mineral separation equipment, but also the associated supply chain operations”.
“Mineral separation equipment is often operated in a remote and hostile environment,” he added.
“Deploying gravity spirals fitted with “Internet of things” sensors will offer Mineral Technologies a clear picture of the product performance. We also see that this innovative manufacturing approach and research could yield benefits for other sectors, such as vertical agriculture and other applications,” concluded Chuter.
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