Additive manufacturing centers are popping up all over Singapore these days. Just a couple of months ago, the country saw the opening of its first metal additive manufacturing center, and today the National University of Singapore (NUS) formally opened its own additive manufacturing center, appropriately named the National University of Singapore Centre for Additive Manufacturing, or AM.NUS. The center was launched today at the Additive Manufacturing Healthcare Summit.
NUS has been responsible for some pioneering research in the field of 3D bioprinting in particular, and the new center will focus especially on additive manufacturing technology for the biomedical and healthcare fields. Experts in the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Dentistry and School of Design and Environment will all be active in AM.NUS, in an effort to make the school – and Singapore as a whole – a leader in additive manufacturing and biomedical technology.
Jerry Fuh Ying-Hsi
“The NUS Centre for Additive Manufacturing will play a critical role in supporting Singapore’s vision of becoming a leading AM hub. Through this inter-faculty pooling of expertise, we hope to boost technology capabilities as well as advance intellectual property development and commercialisation of AM-enabled biomedical technologies,” said Professor Jerry Fuh Ying-Hsi, Co-Director of AM.NUS, Thrust Lead of Restorative Repair & Implants and from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the NUS Faculty of Engineering.
Several key areas have been outlined as plans for AM.NUS to focus on. Researchers from the Division of Industrial Design at the NUS School of Design and Environment will work to develop 3D printed surgical instruments, simulators and prosthetics, while experts from the Department of Pharmacy at the NUS Faculty of Science will look into the use of 3D printed, controlled-release, individualized drugs. Scientists from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine will study bioprinting techniques for tissue repair and tissue engineering, and researchers from the NUS Faculty of Engineering will explore the development of ceramic and metal additive manufacturing materials and processes for the creation and marketing of 3D printed biocompatible implants. Finally, the NUS Faculty of Dentistry will lead education in advanced computer aided oral surgery and surgical planning, as well as researching 3D printing in dental implant design and tissue engineering.
“We have targeted the biomedical sector, as the end goal is to introduce new innovative products to the market which can improve patient outcomes and healthcare delivery,” added Associate Professor Wilson Wang Ee Jen, Co-Director, AM.NUS, who is also from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
[Image courtesy of NAMIC]
AM.NUS was established through support from the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), which together along with NUS supplied initial funding of S$18 million. In addition, AM.NUS will work with several industry partners to develop and transfer 3D printing technologies for biomedical applications. So far, four partners have signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with AM.NUS:
Creatz3D, which will work with AM.NUS to develop advanced medical training and educational simulation
Dou Yee Enterprises, which will help to develop capabilities for 3D printed precision parts
Forefront Additive Manufacturing, which will work to grow its healthcare business with the help of AM.NUS
Osteopore International, which will collaborate with AM.NUS in design, development and clinical trials of 3D printed bioscaffolds for orthopedic applications
“AM.NUS will bring together NUS technologies with industry expertise, enabling the accelerated translation of NUS technologies into innovative healthcare products and services. The Centre is already working on a total of 17 collaborative projects, and has raised about S$4.7 million in additional project funding,” said Dr. Lily Chan, CEO NUS Enterprise.
The Centre for Additive Manufacturing actually consists of two labs, one at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and the other at the Faculty of Engineering. Each lab is equipped with a variety of additive manufacturing equipment, including powder-, plastic-, and liquid-based 3D printers, as well as scanners, CAD software, and testing and validation equipment. In addition to product development, AM.NUS will also serve as a facility for post-graduate courses, allowing students to get hands-on experience with additive manufacturing.
“As a cluster founding member, together with NTU’s Singapore Centre for 3D Printing and SUTD’s Digital Manufacturing and Design Research Centre, the NUS Centre for Additive Manufacturing will play a vital role in NAMIC’s translational research and industry adoption efforts, further strengthening Singapore’s efforts to become a global 3D printing technology hub,” said Dr. Ho Chaw Sing, Managing Director of NAMIC. “As the industrialisation of 3D printing gains momentum, our goal is help the sector achieve better patient outcomes, addressing the needs of our bio-medical and patient community with cost-effective and personalised healthcare solutions.”