Future Additive Manufacturing Platform Grant

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering


The Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing Research Group (3DPRG) at The University of Nottingham (UoN) is focused on the discovery and understanding of advanced Additive Manufacturing (AM) solutions for high value manufacturing and further advanced research applications. The foundations of the 3DPRG go back to the early 1990s and Richard Hague, Ian Ashcroft, Phill Dickens, Chris Tuck and Ricky Wildman have worked collaborated since the mid-2000s. This successful relationship was formalised in 2011 by the award of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in AM and crystallised with our move to UoN in 2012. Our academic grouping was further strengthened through the promotion to academic positions of Ruth Goodridge (2012) and Martin Baumers (2016). Together, we are a clearly established research group of scale that is internationally recognised as undertaking leading work in the field of AM. We have a strong track record in obtaining grant funding, of joint publications and of achieving impact (academic, industrial and societal).

With expertise and track record in both single and multi-material / multifunctional AM, our research approach is both user-centred and scientifically driven. Alongside strong and enduring interdisciplinary links to the physical and applied sciences that complement and extend our capabilities, we have built a core multi-disciplinary team of academics and researchers of ~100 people, housed in a purpose built laboratory. Our goal is to investigate the underpinning processes, materials and computational methods necessary for the successful execution and implementation of AM as a viable manufacturing tool. Our interest and focus on underpinning AM leads us to work with diverse industrial sectors and key (international) manufacturing companies to enable unique AM solutions across a myriad of applications.

With a strong history of research in AM, the UK now needs to capitalise on its deep fundamental knowledge-base to successfully implement AM in industry. However, as highlighted by the UK AM Strategy's interim report [], the range of technologies that are now being industrially deployed are primarily based on technological developments that are over 20 years old (first introduced for prototyping purposes) and there remain significant barriers to productivity in terms of the speed, reproducibility, accuracy, material range and functionality of produced parts. Hence, today's AM technologies are largely still not ready for implementation into most production environments, nor are they capable enough to service the needs of potential users, particularly when it comes to productivity issues (speed of production or material utility).

Our vision driving this platform proposal is to discover, understand and enable industrial implementation of AM solutions to address the issues of productivity and industrial scalability, with our ambition being that this will strengthen our engagement across the full value chain from discovery to deployment. This vision will require close relationships with all stakeholders, including academics in disparate disciplines; the wider innovation ecosystem (particularly the Catapults); manufacturers of AM equipment and materials; organisations involved in policy making; as well as end users in multiple industry sectors.

This Platform proposal is therefore centred on both addressing a subject of undoubted (inter)national importance alongside sustaining a research group of international renown. It will enable us to renew our long term research vision, through the exploration and exploitation of new and emerging science, whilst maintaining a focus on overcoming the challenges associated with implementing AM into industry.

Planned Impact

Impact will be derived for the following:

- UK industry will gain impact through new research that further enhances the UK's leading position in AM technology and exploitation. We will open up awareness in industries yet to exploit AM, and impact existing products and new product conception and realisation, with corresponding economic, societal, healthcare and environmental benefits.
- The HVM Catapult (through the MTC) and its members will gain impact by exploiting the outcomes of lower TRL activities
- AM equipment and service providers will have first-mover advantage in benefitting from new research that will expedite their exploration of the design freedoms of AM and enable faster implementation of innovative products.
- The 3DPRG's research staff will benefit through enhanced career development, a multi-skilled working environment, opportunities to explore new 'risky' concepts and ideas, and an ever-widening network of academic / industrial partners.
- The University of Nottingham will benefit from further enhancing its internationally leading AM research, and in furthering interdisciplinary research both within the University and beyond.
- Doctoral Students will benefit through opportunities to debate new ideas and formulate research proposals, exposure to new high risk research projects, and to understand how to translate academic research into industrial practice.
- The public and society as a whole will benefit through job creation, and the potential for industry to robustly adopt a new and disruptive technology that will enable environmental, healthcare and economic gains.
Description This is early days of the platform grant which is primarily aimed at bridging and retention of key staff alongside pump priming new areas of work. The new areas of work are at the early stage and will develop through the platform funding
Exploitation Route Too early in the cycle of the grant
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Education,Electronics,Energy,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Transport

Description We have engaged with multiple industries through the purpose-created spin out Added Scientific Ltd
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Electronics,Energy,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

Description AM Strategy (P Dickens). The AM Strategy has been cited in the Made Smarter Review 2017 and submitted a response to the Industrial Strategy Consultation Process
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/made-smarter-review
Description Complex Materials for Advanced Device Fabrication Through the Combination of Holographic Optical Tweezers and Multiphoton Absorption
Amount $146,700 (USD)
Organisation United States Air Force 
Sector Public
Country United States
Start 03/2017 
End 02/2018
Description EPSRC Early Career Research Block Grant ( N Aboulkhair, M Simonelli)
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Nottingham 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 10/2019
Description Hermes Fellowship programme administered through the University of Nottingham (Dr Ian Maskery)
Amount £25,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Nottingham 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2018 
End 07/2018
Description NSF-EPSRC A Transatlantic Institute for Volumetric Powder Bed Fusion
Amount £254,060 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R02460X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2020
Description Silicone Jetting
Amount £356,477 (GBP)
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 01/2021
Description JFE steel corporation, Japan 
Organisation JFE Steel Corporation
Country Japan 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The Centre for Additive Manufacturing at UoN will produce a demonstrator made of tin on a copper substrate using the droplet-on-demand technology Metaljet. The demonstrator is to be fabricated from Sn will be the JFE steel corporation logo. This logo will be printed on a 50*40 mm2 substrate. The research team will produce a report detailing the experimental conditions and results (droplet, velocity, etc). Photos (observation result of droplet collision behaviour) will be included.
Collaborator Contribution The collaborator provides the financial support for the study by taking responsibility for all the expenses for the experiments.
Impact The output from this study will be the demonstrator that will be provided to the sponsor.
Start Year 2018
Description A method (300) of fabricating an object by additive manufacturing comprises providing (310) a layer of polymeric material (100), said polymeric material (100) being in particulate form, and comprising linear polymer chains, selectively depositing (320) a reactive liquid (200) onto the layer of particulate polymeric material (100), said reactive liquid (200) comprising reactive units (210a) which are monomeric units, linear oligomeric units, linear polymeric units, or combinations thereof, wherein said reactive units (210a) have two or fewer reactive groups, and allowing (330) linear polymeric chains in said layer of polymeric material (100) to react with reactive units in said reactive liquid (200) so as to form extended polymeric chains that are linear, so as to provide a shaped layer of linear polymer. These steps (310, 320, 330) are repeated as required to form the object from successive shaped layers of linear polymer. 
IP Reference WO2018083500 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2018
Licensed No
Impact The market for AM reached US$5.165B p.a. in 2016 (Wohlers Report). However, market growth for polymeric AM was limited due to production costs, processing speed and narrow material choices. Our technique can overcome these limitations. Compared to the highly competitive metal AM market, there is less direct competition especially for a disruptive new technique which can overcome most of the limitations of existing AM techniques. Customers for a fully commercialized system based on our technique are likely to be: 1) large manufacturing companies seeking AM solutions in plastic products but put off by the high cost / low throughput and 2) designed companies looking for adaptable manufacturing techniques for bespoke products. They are currently serviced by the current machine vendors or 'bureau' companies providing parts by the hour. Our technology looks to disrupt this market through a significant change in material variety with relatively low-cost architecture and higher design freedom with the choice of manufacturing potentially a multi-functional product. A target market could be the sports shoe sector, with a global market of US$80billion in 2015. AM can achieve complex structures (e.g. lattices) that cannot be manufactured by traditional techniques. This provides the manufacturer the design freedom to introduce unique features (e.g. light weight, localized impact resist) into the product through material and structural design. AM also allows the manufacturer to customize the product without incurring additional manufacturing cost. Major brands have been looking to adopt AM in production. Nike started 3D printing shoes in 2014, whilst Adidas has AM factories 'Speedfactories' for producing premium product (100,000 pairs by end of 2018). Higher processing speed and lower facility cost provided by our proposed technique will reduce the production cost, which can open up a market supplying customized sports shoes for more customers at an affordable price. UoN has a long relationship with Nike (USA) both from a AM materials and design perspective.
Description Co-host: Additive International Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Additive International is the premier summit for academic and industrial leaders in Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing. Since 2006, we have showcased next-generation technology and the latest thinking, providing a forum for practitioners to build their networks and drive innovation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.additiveinternational.com
Description IOP PGS Conference: Printing for the future 2018, CfAM: co-organisers 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The Institute of Physics (IOP) in collaboration with CfAM have organised Printing for the future 2018 conference. Dr. Ehab Saleh from CfAM is a committee member of the Printing and Graphics Science group (PGS) was a primary organiser of the event which attracted students and academic staff from across the UK presenting their latest research achievements in printing technologies. The main conference outcome was: New routes of collaborations were highlighted. This was significant in the Q&A sessions were speakers were invited to follow up their discussions during break, and dialogues progressed throughout the day.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
Description Materialise World Summit in Brussels (Prof Richard Hague) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In April 2017, Prof Richard Hague was invited to the panel of the Materialise World Summit in Brussels. The panel's topic was: Are We Prepared for an Additive Future?
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2017
Description OPAD - Cascade grant 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Talk by a Trauma and Orthopaedic surgeon on "Broken bones and the challenges they present". OPAD is a project that was started in 2016 within the Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering. It is funded by Cascade and the Centre for Additive Manufacturing. OPAD is a project that exposes students to real life challenges and gives them the opportunity to work collaboratively in groups to create assistive devices. Students also get the chance to meet with volunteers to find out what specific needs they have and design an assistive device for them.
In March 2018 it was organised a Talk by a Trauma and Orthopaedic surgeon on "Broken bones and the challenges they present" as part of OPAD spring programme for students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018
Description Press release: New method developed to 3D print fully functional electronic circuits 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Nov 2017: Press release: New method developed to 3D print fully functional electronic circuits. Published also in The Engineer, TCT magazine and over 50 international science news websites.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
URL https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2017/november/new-method-developed-to-3d-print-fully...
Description Workshop at the Royal Society (RH) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact In June 2017 Prof Richard Hague was invited to the Emerging technologies and economy workshop at the Royal Society
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017