Imperial College London and manufacturing software company AMFG have received funding from Innovate UK to advance autonomous 3D printing. The funding, delivered through a management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (mKTP), will go towards developing software that allows machines, such as 3D printers, to function completely independently.
Imperial researchers will work with AMFG, which produces workflow automation software for manufacturing processes, to develop autonomous manufacturing – where machines produce objects without human input. The researchers say such software improves productivity by 92% and reduces production times from five days to one – driving technologies like 3D printing toward their full industrial potential.
“Establishing strong collaborations with industry is central to modern academia, and together we can solve real-world problems. Teaming up with AMFG, we aim to do exactly that. Our mKTP will create exciting opportunities to build research activities across the digital manufacturing spectrum,” said Dr. Connor Myant, academic lead from Imperial’s Dyson School of Design Engineering.
Central to the mKTP is the transfer of innovation, ideation, and collaborative creativity skills required to transition to a culture that favors disruptive innovation. To that end, Dr. Céline Mougenot, academic co-lead from Imperial’s Dyson School of Design Engineering, will support AMFG with implementing collaborative ideation workshops with cross-functional teams.
The partnership will produce software that includes automated order management, integration with all major 3D printers, post-production management, shipping, and labeling. To do this, the team will run a series of research and development initiatives that develop new solutions for each part of the workflow.
“This R&D partnership marks a monumental step towards bringing the vision of autonomous manufacturing into reality. We are excited to be forging a relationship with an institution renowned for world-changing innovation,” said Keyvan Karimi, founder, and CEO of AMFG.
Under the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) program, UKRI covers half to two-thirds of the cost of hiring a talented graduate to divide their time between a university and a company – using academic insights to help the company innovate. Applications for KTP funding are facilitated at Imperial College London by Imperial Enterprise.