The $25 million Sydney Manufacturing Hub, located in the Engineering precinct of the University of Sydney’s Darlington campus, has been launched to drive innovation and foster industrial output in the heart of Tech Central.
The facility is a new manufacturing-focused research facility that will work alongside industry to deliver cutting-edge R&D in additive manufacturing and materials processing. It is a foundational node for complementary facilities that support the NSW government’s projects at Western Sydney Aerotropolis and Western Sydney parklands.
The Sydney Manufacturing Hub is geared to enable concept-to-production demonstration capabilities, including advanced pre- and post-processing of materials for faculty, students, small and medium-sized companies, and if needed, larger companies to experience and leverage metal 3D printing (i.e. additive manufacturing) and advanced manufacturing – often for the first time.
The Hub provides capabilities for design, topological optimisation, the 3D printing of metals, ceramics and polymers, as well as post-processing heat treatment, advanced characterisation and more. It will pave the way for new technology in industries like aerospace, autonomous vehicles, biomedical, defence, maritime and robotics.
The University has continued to demonstrate its capability as a R&D leader in the region by working closely with both the public and private sector, University of Sydney vice-chancellor Professor Mark Scott said.
“The Sydney Manufacturing Hub, situated in Darlington at the very heart of ‘Tech Central’ is a key demonstrator for what’s ultimately possible when government, industry and higher education work together on high-impact technologies,” Scott said.
“This is evidenced not only through the establishment of this new research facility, but also via our collaborative projects in Greater Sydney, particularly the Western Sydney Parklands and Aerotropolis.”
Speaking at the launch, minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney and minister for Trade and Industry Stuart Ayres said: “The concept of modern and additive manufacturing, rather than deductive manufacturing, is completely changing the opportunities that are available to Australians.”
The Sydney Manufacturing Hub will drive NSW’s “Industry 5.0” revolution.
“Advanced manufacturing is making the previously impossible possible. Key industries will benefit from these technologies through the reduction of material waste, simplified supply chains, and an independent capacity to create materials, components and even whole machines – all of which weren’t possible using traditional manufacturing,” University of Sydney Core Research Facilities director Professor Simon Ringer said.
“Using these technologies, we could soon see Australian designed and built space rocket engines, hypersonic vehicles, satellites, eco-active building and construction and fast tracking of the electrification revolution in propulsion. It will even be transformative for areas like health – our team have recently leveraged additive manufacturing in the production of custom orthopaedic implants to help with patient-specific needs.”
According to Ringer, we are witnessing a dramatic disruption in how materials are made, which is driving research breakthroughs.
“On one hand, we are looking at the periodic table with fresh eyes – additive manufacturing lets us combine elements to make new materials with entirely new combinations of properties at scale,” he said.
“On the other hand, additive and advanced manufacturing has made manufacturing more accessible, with digital workflows making it easier for local companies to enter competitive global markets.”
The research facility places Sydney at the centre of a new skills-based development and puts the gears in motion for the state’s advanced “Industry 5.0” output.
The facility will provide specialised consulting, fabrication activation and training to its industrial partners, providing both guided and autonomous access to the facilities for the purposes of testing, research and fabrication.
One partner is a pioneer in additive manufacturing technology, General Electric subsidiary GE Additive. They entered into a strategic five-year agreement with the university in 2020 to advance Australia’s manufacturing capability.
The University of Sydney and GE Additive are collaborating on R&D topics around materials, with experimental work performed at the new facility.
Accommodating metal printing technologies from GE Additive, the Hub will serve as a technology demonstration centre for GE Additive across Australia and New Zealand and host workshops, training and collaboration sessions for industry.
Small to medium enterprises account for the majority of advanced manufacturing operators in Australia and are a priority for collaboration with the Hub, GE Australia country leader Sam Maresh said.
“The Sydney Manufacturing Hub is now open for business and ready to engage with industry across NSW, particularly SMEs where there is significant opportunity for new high-skilled jobs,” Maresh said.
“This facility will support the collaboration of industry and researchers and is set to become a commercialisation hub for new products and innovations across a range of advanced manufacturing industries. NSW is positioning itself at the centre of additive manufacturing capability and research within the Asia-Pacific region and the Sydney Manufacturing Hub is a significant step towards achieving that ambition.
“We are delighted to partner with the university on this project and can see the value of the new facility as an industrial incubator, underpinning rapid advances in manufacturing and developing world-leading skills for Australian SMEs.”