Leading glass specialist becomes 3D printing pioneer

Glass Technology Services Ltd (GTS) has joined manufacturers, designers and suppliers to conduct pioneering research and development in 3D printing technology – successfully winning major funding.

Part of a new £8.4 million Government investment programme, ‘Inspiring new design freedoms in additive manufacturing’, funded by Innovate UK, the national innovation agency and the new name for the Technology Strategy Board, GTS is working in partnership with JRI Orthopaedics, 3T RPD, Delta T Devices, The Mercury Centre for Innovative Materials and Manufacturing (based at Sheffield University) and the Manufacturing Technology Centre, to develop 3D printing, specifically an innovative additive manufacturing (AM) process for use in applications within the biomedical and photovoltaic (PV) sectors.The project winners met with Business Secretary Vince Cable at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry.  He said:"Investing in tomorrow's technology will bring jobs and economic growth throughout the UK.That's why the Government has announced the biggest ever investment in the work of the Technology Strategy Board, who will support new manufacturing techniques to maintain the UK’s position as a world leader in technology and design. This joint investment with the Research Councils highlights the commitment from across the sector to boost manufacturing in the UK.”

Rob Ireson, Innovation Team Leader at Glass Technology Services Ltd, said:

“Developing new technologies is crucial to advancing our understanding and capabilities in material science. We are very proud to be joining experts from the AM design and supply chain, to develop a novel solution for orthopaedic implants.”

The new AM process will ultimately apply interpenetrating 3D glass and metallic composite structures onto 3D surfaces.  The technology will enable the design and manufacture of implants which will have faster integration with bone. This will not only improve long-term clinical performance, but improve the recovery rates for patients and create savings for the health service. The project will then translate this technology for use within a novel light sensor for the PV industry. GTS will be responsible for developing novel glass formulations that are compatible with this AM process and will play a key role in developing and building customised additive manufacturing equipment that can build 3D glass-metallic structures.

Glass Technology Services Ltd provides analysis, consultancy, testing and research and development support to all parts of the glass supply chain – from raw materials to the end consumer. GTS prides itself on its confidentiality and independence and is accredited to ISO:9001, 14001 and 17025 standards. 

For further information please visit the GTS project portfolio at www.glass-ts.com/projects, follow GTS on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, email enquiries@glass-ts.com or telephone +44 (0) 114 290 1801.

Notes to Editors:

3T RPD Ltd is a dedicated Additive Manufacturing (AM) company.  With a capacity of six plastic AM machines and five metal AM machines, 3T leads the UK industry offering a wide choice of materials to meet the needs of a broad range of industry sectors. Established in 1999 in Newbury, Berkshire on the former Greenham Common Airbase, 3T moved to a purpose built facility in 2007 to allow for continued expansion.  The company employs 45 people and exports a significant proportion of its production. In April 2012, 3T gained their third quality standard; AS 9100 Rev C for the production of metal parts using Additive Manufacturing. They already hold ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 13485:2003 Medical Devices and were the first AM Company in the UK to hold all three quality standards. For further information, please see www.3trpd.co.uk.

Innovate UK is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board – the UK’s innovation agency. Taking a new idea to market is a challenge. Innovate UK funds, supports and connects innovative businesses through a unique mix of people and programmes to accelerate sustainable economic growth. For further information visit www.innovateuk.org

The MTC (Manufacturing Technology Centre) has been established to prove innovative manufacturing processes and technologies in an agile environment in partnership with industry, academia and other institutions.  The MTC provides a high quality environment for the development and demonstration of new technologies on an industrial scale, providing a unique opportunity for manufacturers to develop new and innovative processes and technologies in a low risk environment. The areas of MTC’s technology focus are appropriate to both large and small companies and are applicable across industry sectors. Founder industrial members of the MTC are Rolls-Royce, Aero Engine Controls and Airbus UK and members now include manufacturing companies from multiple sectors. Research partners include the University of Birmingham, University of Nottingham, Loughborough University and TWI Ltd. The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult which is supported by Innovate UK (Technology Strategy Board). www.the-mtc.org

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