UK Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced that the government will invest £8.4m in 3D printing research and development projects.
The funding comes jointly from The Technology Strategy Board, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), along with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
Vince met with the funding winners at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, which is a High Valu Manufacturing Catapult center. The funding, worth £14.7m in total (which also includes company investment of £6.3m), is shared between 18 R&D projects and will last between one and three years.
“Investing in tomorrow’s technology will bring jobs and economic growth throughout the UK”, Vince Cable – UK Business Secretary
The project winners who will receive the funding includes a diverse range of innovative projects, including:
- A ‘just in time’ production of bespoke 3D printed knee replacement parts custom made for each patient and corrsponding surgical instruments.
- The production of orthotic insoles, with 3D printing replacing traditional hand-made techniques. The 3D printing process facilitates the utilization of the patient’s foot characteristics to precisely shape the insoles and determine the properties of the materials.
- The development of specialist, multi-material glass/metal coatings for replacement hip joints, significantly reducing the need for patients to undergo secondary hip replacement surgery and potentially achieving significant savings for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
- A new micro-turbine, initially be targeted at the market for electric vehicle range extenders, but also potentially for concentrating solar power, and waste heat to power conversion.
- Bespoke, 3D printed cranio-facial implants.
- A project to improve the design, production and supply process for 3D printed 18ct gold jewellery.
Much like the Obama administration in providing 3D printing investment, the UK government is hoping this investment will boost its manufacturing output and maintain the UK’s position as a leader in technology and design.