GE Additive and University of Sydney sign additive manufacturing MoU

GE Additive and The University of Sydney have signed an agreement to collaborate on establishing Sydney as a global leader in digitally-led metal additive manufacturing.

The 10-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) is to support the creation of the first metal additive manufacturing “total ecosystem” in Australia, establishing the technologies, commercial and economic opportunities, education, skills and job development, and research capacities to take the industry forward.

Additive manufacturing uses a digital design to create a three-dimensional object by depositing material as superfine layers in precise geometric shapes. The digital development revolutionises industrial production enabling the creation of lighter, stronger parts and systems with digital efficiency and flexibility. Shapes, sizes and structures can be created that would be impossible using conventional manufacturing.

Under the agreement over ten years GE Additive will invest up to US$1 million annually in research and development at the University to accelerate the adoption of metal additive manufacturing in Australia and the region.

University of Sydney’s vice chancellor and principal, Dr Michael Spence, said the MoU builds on the university’s expertise in the disciplines essential to advanced manufacturing such as materials engineering and integrated digital systems.

“By partnering with GE Additive, an industry leader in this area of manufacturing, we can set the agenda for this disruptive technology and ensure that Australia is primed to contribute to this exciting next phase of the industrial revolution,” Spence said.

“The collaboration will drive the research and development needed to learn how this disruption to manufacturing can be harnessed for economic benefit. We are especially delighted that this initiative aligns with our plan to establish a new campus at Parramatta/Westmead, where advanced manufacturing will be a key focus.”

GE Additive’s chief commercial officer, Debbra Rogers, said that the company was immediately impressed by the University of Sydney’s understanding of the positive impact additive manufacturing technology can have on Australia’s economy and its workforce.

“Additive requires a completely different way of engineering and thinking. Educating and training current workforces with new skills and also getting more engineers into additive takes time and programs need to be developed over a number of years,” Rogers said.

“The University of Sydney recognises this and that in order to build the right mindset, the right skills, the right materials we need to encourage close collaboration between companies, academia and governments.”

The MoU comes on the back of the University’s commitment to establish a new 1,000sqm Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Materials Processing research facility that will serve as a focal point for the partnership. The development of this laboratory is the initial phase of a plan to build greater capacity and capability at the Parramatta/Westmead campus.