While the global economy is technically on the rebound, it’s not that great. Australia has been hit by a number of problems, including the decision by Ford and Holden to close out their Australian operations.
However, things might not be as bleak as they look at first blush. Melbourne, at least, will be seeing a surge of new business in an unexpected area. A brand new 3D printing manufacturing facility is already up and running. What’s it all about?
It’s about Printing on Demand
For most people, print on demand is a phrase generally reserved for the world of indie book publishing. However, it’s quickly becoming synonymous with others, including the 3D printing industry.
The new facility is called the Advanced Manufacturing Plant, and it’s operated by a 3D printing veteran – Objective3D (the company distributes 3D printers).
However, if you think the Advanced Manufacturing Plant is all about printing in plastic, think again. This is a state of the art facility, and it can print in virtually any material necessary.
A Closer Look at the Plant
The Advanced Manufacturing Plant currently houses 15 machines capable of printing parts and serving an incredible range of different industries. The manager points out that they’re capable of supplying parts and components for the mining sector, the automotive industry, education, railways, trucking, scientific research and development and even the dental sector.
Not only can the company print parts and components, but they can do so in the original materials specified for the necessary end use. While that certainly includes plastic, it also includes a very wide range of metals. In addition, the plant is capable of producing incredibly fine details, such as the texture on plastic automotive interior panels, or the fine tip of a dental pick.
It goes much further than that. The company operates a Stratasys Objet500 Connex3, which is capable of using more than 1,200 different materials to create objects. Materials range from rubber to steel to clear materials as well.
The plant also has the ability to tint, color and finish parts and components in virtually any way necessary. In addition to the Stratasys machine, the plant operates a range of other systems, including both inkjet-based systems and extrusion-based printers.
It might seem logical to assume that the Advanced Manufacturing Plant is geared more for big business, but that’s not really the case. While the systems are advanced, state of the art machines, they’re not capable of producing the high volume necessary for today’s big companies.
Rather, the plant will focus on serving the needs of small businesses in Melbourne, the surrounding area, and throughout Australia. Customizable products, custom kits, unique products in smaller production runs – these are just a few of the things that the company will focus on.
It’s not all about giving small businesses and entrepreneurs access to manufacturing solutions, though. It’s also about saving them money. The company estimates it can save business owners between 50-80% of what they would otherwise spend.