We're providing Australian companies with access to metal additive manufacturing (3D printing) technologies that promise high efficiency and productivity gains for a competitive advantage.

The challenge

Lowering capital investment risk

New and emerging technologies, such as 3D printing, offer huge advantages over traditional manufacturing methods for increased efficiencies and productivity.

A scientist handles a printed 3D object from behind safety equipment

A scientist handles a printed 3D object from behind safety equipment

Additive manufacturing reduces waste material, brings down labour costs, speeds up the development and test phase, allows for product customisation and the ability to make complex metal parts.

3D printing with metal is much more complex than using other material such as plastic. The equipment also has a high capital cost in the range of $1 million per unit, and so like with any new technology, there is an element of investment risk particularly for smaller companies.

Due to these challenges, Australian industry has been slow to adopt metal 3D printing. Yet, as global competition increases, these technologies are needed to strengthen and enhance local manufacturing.

We're working to overcome the major barriers to entry, so that Australian industry can take advantage of 3D printing for a global competitive advantage.

Our response

Equipping industry with the latest technology

 Lab 22: Adding a new dimension to 3D printing

[Music plays and text appears: CSIRO adds a new dimension to 3D printing for small business]

[Image changes to show Alex Kingsbury, Additive manufacturing research leader]

Alex Kingsbury: So 3D printing is a process by which material is added in successive layers, it builds up a part, typically you use a heat source to build that part up, but you could use something like a binder as well. It’s got application in aerospace and biomed and in the Defence industry as well, and to a less extent the auto industry.

[Camera pans around the different sections of the LAB22 Innovation Centre and then moves back to Alex]

So the LAB22 Innovation Centre is a try before you buy place, where industry can come in and use the equipment and access the expertise of our research scientists.

[Image changes to show a CSIRO staff member working on a desktop computer and then moves back to Alex]

It means that they get to get familiar with the equipment and get the training and support to enable them to feel confident about potentially making a purchase of one of these types of machines in the future.

[Camera zooms in on the image the CSIRO staff member is looking at on the computer]

This centre enables SMEs to come in and gain a competitive edge.

[Image changes to show Alex holding a 3D model in her hands as explained below]

So, so far here at CSIRO we’ve 3D printed a heel implant for a man that was about to lose his leg, so we worked together with the surgeons at St Vincent’s and Anatomics.

[Image changes to show Alex holding a different 3D model in her hands as explained below]

Flying Machine is a Perth based company and we 3D print the bike lugs for them and that means they can customise bikes according to an individual’s height and riding style.

[Image changes to show Alex holding a different 3D model in her hands as explained below]

We worked with a company called Oventus to 3D print a device that goes into your mouth that helps combat sleep apnoea.

[Image changes to show the Arcam machine]

The Arcam machine is a 3D metal printer, it prints in a lot of different metals and it produces really high quality parts in a really short amount of time]

[Image changes to show the Concept Laser and then moves back to Alex]

The Concept Laser is a laser-based metal 3D printer. It produces really fine, detailed parts with a really nice surface finish.

[Image changes to show the Optomec machine and then moves back to Alex]

The Optomec Lense System is a blown powder system. With this system you can add features to a part, or you can functionally grade materials as well. That means, for example, you can put a wear resistant coating in a high wear area on a part.

[Image changes to show the Voxeljet machine and then moves back to Alex]

The Voxeljet is a sand printer. With the sand printer we can apply a binder and that prints out our 3D part. We can use that to make a casting that can be more complex than your conventional castings.

[Image changes to show the Arcam machine in action]

The Australian Manufacturing Industry is in a real state of flux at the moment. It’s essential that SMEs transition to advance manufacturing technology such as 3D printing.

[Image changes to show a different part of the printing process]

Access to the centre enables SMEs to de-risk the capital investment that they might make in this technology, it enables them to develop up products in an easy an accessible and affordable way.

[Image has moved back to Alex]

We want industry to come in and tell us their great ideas and to try out their ideas using our equipment. You’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to 3D printing.

[CSIRO logo appears with text: Big ideas start here www.csiro.au]

YouTube: Lab 22: adding a new dimension to 3D printing

Lab 22: adding a new dimension to 3D printing :  Our Lab 22 Innovation Centre provides Australian companies with easy access to cutting edge additive manufacturing technologies (or 3D printing) that can enhance their productivity and global competitiveness.

Our new $6 million additive manufacturing centre, called Lab 22, is making metal additive manufacturing more accessible for industry and increasing its adoption across Australia.

Located at Clayton, Victoria, Lab 22 offers Australian companies with a unique opportunity to access and explore new technologies so that they can innovate with less capital investment risk.

Our experts work closely with companies on cost-effective solutions, catering to a wide spectrum of requirements, such as increasing the speed, performance and affordability of technologies. We are able to capture 3D data and simulate both the manufacturing process and in-service part performance. Our designers can turn a new design idea into a testable prototype within a week.

Our machines can be categorised based on how the raw material is fed (powder bed, cold spray, blown powder) or their heat source (e-beam or laser). They can also handle a wide variety of materials including ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals and sand.

Lab 22 breaks down barriers to entry in 3D printing for small business.

Lab 22 offers:

  • Metallic 3D printing (e.g. titanium, aluminium)
  • Advanced machining for improved profitability
  • Surface engineering for enhanced performance
  • Laser assisted additive deposition
  • Laser heat treatments.

Industry can 3D print out of sand, titanium and other metals using Lab 22 facilities.

Our equipment includes:

  • Arcam A1
  • Concept Laser M2
  • Optomec LENS MR-7
  • Voxelject VX1000
  • Cold Spray Plasma Giken.

Do business with us to help your organisation thrive

We partner with small and large companies, government and industry in Australia and around the world.

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