Manufacturing technology developer AML3D (ASX: AL3) plans to build a new R&D facility at the “Factory of the Future” – a state-of-the-art development project conducted by Flinders University and defence company BAE Systems Maritime Australia, within the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide.
Organisers claim the “Line Zero Factory of the Future” brings innovation, Industry 4.0 technologies, and spearheads research into advanced manufacturing that will strengthen the Australian economy.
The first of its kind in Australia, the site aims to integrate multiple stakeholders and industry partners, to deliver a world-class reconfigurable advanced manufacturing “testbed”, training and industry growth facility.
Some of the advanced tech being developed and tested at the site includes automation, photonic sensing, robotics and cobotics – the development of collaborative robots to enhance broader land and maritime autonomous systems.
AML3D’s new “Arcemy” unit will develop new large-scale metal additive manufacturing techniques and will form the basis of a formal additive manufacturing R&D facility at Tonsley, according to AML3D’s managing director Andrew Sales.
“The trials and research projects to be undertaken at the facility in conjunction with BAE Systems Maritime Australia and Flinders University will enable AML3D to further develop its large-scale metal additive manufacturing capability through added features such as in-process measurement, monitoring and adjustment that will improve quality,” Mr Sales said.
Currently, AML3D conducts a range of commercial activities including freeform large-scale metal printing, incorporating robotics, welding science, metallurgy and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), to produce automated wire-fed 3D printing in a large freeform environment.
The company has secured a formal patent for its wire additive manufacturing (WAM) process in addition to several trademarks together with quality accreditation and certifications from Lloyd’s Register, DNV-GL and SAI Global.
Additionally, AML3D has also entered a joint research program with Flinders University’s Microscopy and Microanalysis and the Flinders Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, to investigate corrosion resistance properties of WAM produced components for marine environments.
More broadly, the factory of the future concept seeks to include the Australian Federal Government and its significant investment in naval shipbuilding as a springboard for increasing the number of companies involved in automation, robotics and supporting supply chain modernisation.
According to BAE Systems Maritime Australia, additive manufacturing will become a “core element” of the ‘Factory of the Future’ concept with formal testing and trialling of metal additive manufacturing systems for application in naval shipbuilding set to get underway in the immediate term.
“The establishment of a permanent Line Zero facility will support the development of new manufacturing techniques and technologies within a factory-like environment that will ultimately be adapted to the state-of-the-art digital shipyard at Osborne and beyond,” said Sharon Wilson, naval shipbuilding strategy director of BAE Systems Maritime Australia.
“This supports the growth of an enduring and uniquely Australian sovereign industrial capability that supports the nation’s continuous naval shipbuilding strategy for generations to come,” she added.
Just recently, global aerospace manufacturer Boeing engaged AML3D to produce a 3D printed mandrel tool from Invar-36 material using its proprietary WAM process.
According to Mr Sales, the purchase contract will provide AML3D with a “key opportunity” to showcase its ability in producing parts to exact specifications as the world adapts to 3D printed solutions in addition to traditional manufacturing.