Home-grown firm opens 3D printing facility here

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN )- $2.5m plant offers 'end-to-end' production services, will make parts for key industries.

Home-grown metal-printing company 3D Metalforge opened a $2.5 million 3D printing facility here yesterday - the latest in a string of advanced manufacturing investments by various companies.

The plant is believed to be Singapore's first "end-to-end" additive manufacturing - also known as 3D printing - facility. This means it will provide a complete suite of in-house metal printing solutions and services, ranging from design and engineering, to printing, post-production and finishing.

It will make parts for the marine and offshore, oil and gas, manufacturing, engineering sectors, as well as other key industries.

The new facility, built adjacent to 3D Metalforge's existing plant in Science Park, means the firm will hire three new staff to bring the company's total staff strength to 15.

"Additive manufacturing incurs significantly lower costs, it can be up to 30 per cent cheaper and 10 times faster than traditional manufacturing processes," said 3D Metalforge chief executive Matthew Waterhouse.

"This is very useful particularly for marine as well as oil and gas companies, which are often under time and cost pressures."

Waterhouse added that the new facility will help the company ramp up growth here and in the region. It plans to expand into regional markets such as Indonesia, and Middle Eastern locations such as Dubai and Qatar, over the next three to five years.

"We intend to invest $2 million to $3 million within the next one to two years for technological development locally, before expanding overseas thereafter," he said.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran, who was the guest of honour at yesterday's opening ceremony, said additive manufacturing "offers tremendous opportunities for local precision engineering firms to move towards higher value-added activities".

He added that the Government will continue to invest in advanced manufacturing technologies and encourage collaborations between research agencies and industry partners, in order to build deep capabilities needed for companies to innovate and tap new opportunities for competitiveness and growth.

Yesterday, 3D Metalforge also signed agreements to work with government agencies and the Singapore University of Technology and Design to jointly develop and commercialise 3D metal printing technologies.

The opening comes as advanced manufacturing ramps up here. In 2015, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster was set up. In March this year, semiconductor giant Infineon announced a $105 million investment over five years into its Singapore plant to improve automation.

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