The UAE city of Dubai has launched the 3D Printing Strategic Alliance, a first-of-its-kind initiative that creates a comprehensive network of government agencies, academic institutions and 3D printing companies in the UAE as well as globally. The alliance was announced today by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan binMohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation (DFF).
The newly launched 3D Printing Strategic Alliance aims to establish the Middle Eastern city as a leading hub for 3D printing by creating a network of supplies, products and services in many sectors to achieve a higher degree of self-sufficiency.
“Today we launched the 3D Printing Strategic Alliance to provide a platform that unites all entities working in this vital sector,” tweeted Hamdan bin Mohammed. “Our goal is to accelerate the adoption and use of this emerging technology to support all governmental, economic, health and scientific sectors in Dubai and the world. Through the Alliance and in cooperation with 3D printing companies, we will enhance our industrial capabilities, secure our basic needs and create new production lines based on the employment of future technology. We will also create a strategic virtual network jointly with the private sector in order to ensure immediate response to local needs during crises and achieve self-sufficiency.”
As part of the initiative, Dubai will establish a district dedicated to the development, testing and deployment of 3D printing technologies. The district will consist of research centers, international companies, startups, applied engineering firms and business accelerator programs all focused on 3D printing in some way. The hub will also reportedly house the largest warehouse in the region for the storage and distribution of 3D printing materials and products
The new 3D Printing Strategic Alliance builds upon the existing Dubai 3D Printing Strategy, which was launched in 2016 with the aim of accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing across key sectors, like construction and healthcare. The new alliance will bring together multiple groups within Dubai, including the DFF, the Dubai Health Authority, the Dubai Municipality, Dubai Police, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Roads and Transportation Authority, Khalifa University, Higher Colleges of Technology, as well as 10 international and local 3D printing companies.
The first stage of the 3D Printing Strategic Alliance will focus on increasing production capabilities for medical supplies and equipment in the UAE through the creation of 3D printing production lines. The aim on this front is to establish a locally produced medical supply stock for frontline medical workers. This plan seems like a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen severe strain placed on global medical supply chains.
Indeed, part of Dubai’s mission is to build a strategic network that can respond to the requirements of various sectors in times of crises by enabling public-private partnerships and using advanced manufacturing technologies. The Alliance will also play a role in facilitating approvals for 3D printed products to encourage stakeholders to achieve high levels of productivity.