SYDNEY, June 4 (Xinhua) -- The University of Technology Sydney (UTS)'s advanced development unit Rapido announced a new partnership with the Downer Group's Mineral Technologies business and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) on Monday, which will examine how 3D printing technology could be used to make mining equipment.
The collaboration over the next three years could have the potential to revolutionize Australia's mining industry.
"This project will define an accelerated deposition and curing technique for additive manufacturing which will hasten the way in which composite polymers are deposited to manufacture our mineral separation equipment, in particular, gravity spirals," said Mineral Technologies global manager Alex de Andrade, who is also an associate professor with UTS.
"We expect to see positive environmental impacts, such as decreasing the need for chemicals and reducing air contamination, which will significantly improve the operational environment for our manufacturing workforce."
With many industries anticipating the rise of automation and the implementation of 3D printing capacity, the manufacturing sector is bracing itself for radical changes that will help lower production costs and reduce waste.
David Chuter, IMCRC chief executive and managing director, believes 3D printing will not only revolutionize the process of manufacturing mineral separation equipment, but also the associated supply chain operations.
"Mineral separation equipment is often operated in a remote and hostile environment," he said.
"Deploying gravity spirals fitted with "Internet of things" sensors will offer Mineral Technologies a clear picture of the product performance."
"We also see that this innovative manufacturing approach and research could yield benefits for other sectors, such as vertical agriculture and other applications."