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Industry collaboration progresses New Zealand additive manufacturing

8 February 2017

High-tech company Rapid Advanced Manufacturing (RAM3D) in New Zealand has opened a new facility in Tauranga's Tauriko Business Park, with the aim of making metal additive manufacturing more accessible to the Australian and New Zealand markets. RAM has been collaborating with global engineering technologies company Renishaw and, as a result, is using several AM250 metal additive manufacturing systems in its Tauranga facility.

RAM3D was spun out of the research organisation Titanium Industry Development Association (now TiDA) and it has the biggest Australasian centre for 3D metal printing. RAM3D's new facility allows companies from a range of sectors, including aerospace, defence, consumer and industrial, to explore the benefits of metal additive manufacturing.

RAM3D works with its clients to improve the design of production parts and prototypes. It also uses additive manufacturing to make these parts in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. RAM3D is collaborating with companies as far away as Singapore and the products manufactured at the Tauranga centre are used around the world.

The diversity of the parts RAM3D manufactures ranges from titanium knives used by the Team Emirates America's Cup crew to customised handlebar extensions for the New Zealand Olympics cycling team, as well as titanium lugs for high-end Australian custom bike maker Bastion Cycles.

“The additive manufacturing market is on the rise in New Zealand and Australia,” explained Warwick Downing, Managing Director of Rapid Advanced Manufacturing. “This growth is fuelled by realism, not hype; the enquiries we are getting show a clear understanding of the potential of design for additive manufacturing. This is an encouraging trend. We believe this trend is being driven by industry collaborations that facilitate a better understanding of the technology, such as the one between RAM3D and Renishaw.

“The key to the successful and sustainable implementation of additive manufacturing into the production process is to have a good understanding of the technology and work in partnership with suppliers and clients.”

“RAM3D strongly believes that additive manufacturing is a competitive production technology with an unprecedented potential for industry,” continued Mike Brown, Managing Director of Renishaw Oceania. “The company's unique combination of skills, facilities and experience make it an industry leader in this part of the world. It is a privilege for Renishaw to collaborate with such a key player in the market to grow the region's adoption of additive manufacturing.”

RAM3D is planning to continue its growth and accommodate for 20 metal additive manufacturing systems by the end of 2020. The company is keen to work with a wider range of clients from different industries who want to explore the benefits and potential of metal additive manufacturing.

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