MANILA – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said they will officially open their Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMCen) to the public in April.
The AMCen facility is located at the DOST’s compound in Bicutan, Taguig City. It houses cutting-edge 3D printing technologies capable of printing plastics, clays and cement, highly-resolved polymers and ceramics, and metals.
De la Pena said that “In this time of the pandemic, additive manufacturing played a great role in providing 3D printed devices to fill the shortage of medical devices and personal protective equipment such as face shields, face masks, and valves.”
Additive manufacturing (AM), he told the AMCen-Materials Development stakeholders’ forum on Thursday, allows the creation of lighter and more complex details that are either too difficult or very expensive to produce using traditional molds and machining.
He enjoined the country’s manufacturing industry to adopt advanced manufacturing and make use of the 3D printers, services, and facilities of ITDI (Industrial Development Technology Institute). “Additive manufacturing is a great alternative to companies dedicated to manufacturing goods on demand,” he said.
The DOST official said AM is one of DOST’s priority programs, and some P330 million was allocated for the Rapid and Advanced Prototyping for Product Innovation and Development using Additive Manufacturing Technologies (RAPPID-ADMATEC), one of the component projects under AMCen.
The RAPPID-ADMATEC team has networked with various industries that have additive manufacturing-related business operations. It has also established partnerships with the academe, start-ups, regional innovation centers were established, he added.
De la Peña said cited the advantages of AM. Often referred to as 3D printing, it requires less hard tooling and assembly and offers greater customization or bespoke manufacturing at a shorter time to market as compared to traditional or subtractive manufacturing method.
“AM can reduce the obsolescence of spare parts, which is particularly useful in asset-heavy industries such as aerospace, automotive, and medical,” he explained, adding that while it is unlikely to replace subtractive manufacturing anytime soon, AM is ideal for manufacturing prototypes with complex geometries.
“It is ideal for rapid prototyping because the digital process means that design alterations can be done quickly and efficiently during the manufacturing process. The lack of material wastage provides cost reduction for high-value parts,” he said.
He pointed out that previously required assembly from multiple pieces can be fabricated as single objects, under AM, which can provide improved strength and durability.
De la Peña said the DOST is optimistic that by availing of services at AMCen, product development costs will be reduced significantly, manufacturing activities will become more productive, and industries will be more competitive.