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Singapore additive manufacturing cluster ties up with global network

SINGAPORE'S National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (Namic) will work with an international network to identify parts suited to additive manufacturing (AM), also known as industrial 3D printing, in sectors such as medical, transportation and logistics, construction equipment, aviation, automotive, and shipping.

Under a memorandum of understanding with Berlin-based Mobility goes Additive (MgA), signed on Tuesday at the seventh Namic Summit in Singapore, the collaboration will also facilitate tie-ups between AM players on both sides, including companies, institutions and research institutes.

"There is a lot of room for co-operation between our European network and the Singaporean SMEs (small and medium enterprises)," said MgA managing director Stefanie Brickwede. "We see Namic as a valuable gateway to the Asian market."

The summit's guest of honour, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, noted that the MOU will let local firms tap plug-and-play solutions from MgA's 99 network members, including German giants such as Siemens and TÜV SÜD.

"Industries that have a high potential for additive manufacturing adoption, such as aerospace, marine and offshore, and medical technology, are well-matched to Singapore's manufacturing base," said Dr Koh.

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Singapore is thus in a good position to adopt AM technologies for improved performance and cost advantages, he added. He noted Namic's efforts to drive such adoption, for instance by engaging the Land Transport Authority on the use of 3D printing to make spare parts for maintenance and engineering operation of trains and buses.

Both Namic managing director Ho Chaw Sing and keynote speaker John Barnes, founder and managing director of The Barnes Group Advisors, stressed the importance of talent in the AM ecosystem's development. Mr Barnes noted that design for AM is "counter-intuitive to classical manufacturing engineering", with the capability to create designs that can only be realised via AM technology.

To ensure a complementary skilled workforce, the government is training more than 600 engineers in AM design and process capabilities, said Dr Koh.

The week-long summit includes talks and workshops, as well as Namic's first startup innovation forum on Friday, where winning start-ups will receive expert guidance and mentorship, as well as grants and funding. The startup innovation forum is organised in partnership with Enterprise Singapore and SGInnovate, supported by NTUitive and the National Research Foundation.

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