A laboratory that is involved in additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, and deals with research and development on materials for use in AM-abled products was inaugurated on December 22.
The Additive Manufacturing Center-Materials Development (AMCen-Matdev) laboratory is under the Industrial Technology Development Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ITDI).
One of the main activities of AMCen-Matdev R&D is the development of materials for various 3D printing technologies using local materials and locally-produced nanomaterials for property enhancement in order to reduce the cost of raw materials.
Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, provides a transformative approach to industrial production that enables the creation of lighter, stronger parts and systems, GE.com said.
As its name implies, additive manufacturing adds material to create an object, it added.
In his keynote speech during the virtual inauguration, Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said, «The establishment of AMCen as the country’s technological hub for additive manufacturing and other advanced manufacturing technologies is proof of our strong commitment to strengthen and expand the country’s capabilities in 3D printing and advanced design and manufacturing.”
He added: “This center will harness 3D printing’s potential to improve our aerospace and defense, health, agriculture, automotive, and many other sectors.”
De la Peña pointed out that even before the laboratory’s inauguration, AMCen-Matdev’s significance was already highlighted during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when equipment and medical devices were in short supply.
He said the two-component facilities of AMCen, the Matdev laboratory, and the Metals Industry Research and Development Center-led Research on Advanced Prototyping for Product Innovation and Development using Additive Manufacturing Technologies (Rappid-Admatec), have already made significant contributions in the country’s response against the Covid-19 pandemic.
They led in prototyping and production of various personal protective equipment and medical components and devices.
De la Peña highlighted AMCen-Matdev’s pandemic responses that included the 3D printing of face shields, ear relief bands, diffusers, door knobs/handles, and respirator valves.
It also helped a hospital through the characterization of alternative filters to the Heat and Moisture Exchange filters.
The Matdev Team improved the nebulizer mask design and developed a 3D-printed filter attachment for use in commercially available masks, such as the modified oxygen concentrator mask.
It collaborated with a university for the 3D printing of various components of Telepresence Robots, which allows users to view and interact with remote environments.
This, he said, will be useful for the new normal, especially for hospitals, homes, manufacturing plants and businesses.
With the inauguration of the laboratory, the Center will engage its stakeholders in more projects, such as in prototyping, testing, and evaluation, R&D collaborations, design concepts, materials R&D, education formation, training services, and policy standard, he said.
Matdev is currently working with Mariano Marcos State University on the development of 3D-printing materials that uses the university’s local clay and biomass materials, he added.
It is also collaborating with the DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute for the 3D printing of a nerve guidance conduit for the clinical treatment of nerve injuries, de la Peña said.
“I hope after this inauguration, more collaborations will be forged. As I have emphasized in my previous speeches that collaborations among government and nongovernment agencies, the academe, and private firms are essential to make the Philippines fully utilize the benefits of additive manufacturing,” de la Peña pointed out.
He said that equipped with the latest machines and tools for materials development, design, property simulation, and process optimization, AMCen-Matdev “will open countless possibilities for production-grade manufacturing.”
Undersecretary for R&D Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara and Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit, of Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, expressed their support to AMCen-Matdev’s innovative program in their respective messages during the virtual launch.
De la Peña acknowledged Dr. Rigoberto Advincula, governor chairman of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Dr. Chee Kai Chua, Chaiman Professor at Singapore University of Technology and Design, who mentored and trained AMCen-Matdev’s staff.