Australian metal 3D printing company AML3D will expand manufacturing operations to Adelaide’s Tonsley Innovation District, where Flinders University and defense company BAE Systems Maritime Australia are developing a state-of-the-art “factory of the future” to support the growth of advanced manufacturing. AML3D’s upcoming R&D facility will integrate its patented Wire Additive Manufacturing (WAM) process and enhance large-scale additive manufacturing (AM) capabilities. The move solidifies an ongoing partnership with Flinders University that could lead to further technological breakthroughs.
Line Zero – Factory of the Future’s development was accelerated back in January 2021 after the Australian government announced a $ 5 million funding commitment, equal to Flinders University’s initial investment. The site will be a premier manufacturing accelerator in South Australia, initially focusing on collaborative research and training for the country’s $ 90 billion shipbuilding program. The facility will provide a controlled space to test new manufacturing techniques and processes that BAE Systems can use to build the nine Hunter-class frigates, a future class of full ships for the Royal Australian Navy.
AML3D’s expansion to Tonsley follows an ongoing collaboration with Flinders University and BAE Systems in the field of large-scale metal AM. In addition, AML3D Managing Director Andrew Sales emphasized that the trials and research projects to be carried out at the facility in collaboration with the two partners will enable AML3D to further develop its large-scale metal AM capabilities through additional functions such as in-process measurements, monitoring and customization to improve quality.
AML3D is active in the defense sector and claims to have the world’s largest, certified, production-ready metal 3D printers and the only metal-diversified large WAM production facility in the southern hemisphere, headquartered in Adelaide. Released in 2020, the Arcemy brand’s flagship industrial metal 3D printer combines welding science, robotic automation, materials engineering and proprietary software to form its recently patented WAM process. Arcemy intelligently produces parts by depositing molten wire layer by layer in a controlled manner.
In a short time, the large-format system gained importance among shipbuilding companies, including BAE Systems Australia subsidiary ASC Shipbuilding and Perther shipbuilder Austal. The main hub of the country’s marine industry is in South Australia and the leading companies in the sector are leaders in modern digital shipyard manufacturing. In fact, Sharon Wilson, Continuous Naval Shipbuilding Strategy Director at BAE Systems, said AM will be a core element of the concept of the factory of the future as testing and validation of AM metal systems for potential naval shipbuilding applications is underway soon.
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“It’s so exciting for us to have a machine at Line Zero because all this collaboration means that SMBs, researchers and people who can’t afford to buy one of these machines right away can come and play with them. You can find out about the technology; Students can be confronted with it; Researchers can be confronted with this. So this really underpins what we want to achieve at Line Zero, what this Australian technology draws in, ”said Wilson during the AML3D Open Day event on July 9, 2021, when the company unveiled another facility, its multi-million dollar facility with Headquarters in South Australia WAM Technology Center.
AML3D has seen immense growth over the past year. In early 2020, the company began trading on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) after successfully raising A $ 9 million (approximately $ 6.6 million) with strong institutional support. Due to the high demand from new customers such as Boeing, Thyssen Krupp and ST Engineering, the workforce even had to be quadrupled to over 30 employees during this time.
Additionally, following the unveiling of its new facility and the upcoming inauguration of the center on Line Zero, the company expects further employment growth over the next few months. AML3D is also very active in research and recently started a joint research program with microscopy and microanalysis from Flinders University and the Flinders Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology to study the corrosion resistance properties of WAM-manufactured components for the marine environment.