£Three million 3D printing initiative goals to assist Higher Manchester corporations construct again higher

Companies in the Greater Manchester area are set to benefit from a new initiative to help them understand and use 3D printing technology to develop innovative products and services in their business.

Manchester Metropolitan University’s new £ 3.2m initiative aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region not only continue to be affected by the pandemic, but also build a better post-pandemic by helping the Introducing a new innovation will support culture that promotes productivity and growth.

Many companies have already benefited from the university’s support for 3D printing and developed new products such as deaf-friendly face masks.

However, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to cause tremendous disruption to businesses across the region, with sectors such as manufacturing being no exception.

From problems with supply chains making products difficult to manufacture to changes in market conditions over the past 12 months, many companies have had to adjust to stay up and running.

However, the PrintCity Network initiative, which launches this month, offers companies the ability to leverage 3D scanning as a void in the supply chain so a company can stay up and running when the chain is down.

SMBs will also be able to diversify their product lines and bring new products to market quickly using 3D printing and digital manufacturing techniques.

The PrintCity network builds on the work of the university’s existing specialized center for additive and digital manufacturing, PrintCity, which offers researchers, students, individuals and companies the opportunity to educate or develop, and on-site and commercial 3D printing support Accessing service help turn your manufacturing ambitions into reality.

However, PrintCity Network will take this step one step further to create a network of 150 landmark local SMBs that can provide fully funded technical and business support at a time when finances may be tight.

Professor Craig Banks, Academic Director of PrintCity, said, “More and more companies have tried to adopt digital manufacturing techniques, especially during the pandemic.

“With many traditional supply chains disrupted, SMBs turned to PrintCity to help them adopt new design and manufacturing methods during this difficult time. Many need our support to adopt these new approaches.

“PrintCity has supported SMEs since its inception in 2018 using existing business support programs such as the GC Business Growth Hub and the Made Smarter North West pilot program.

“With this new, fully funded service available to SMBs in the Greater Manchester area, PrintCity Network will help more businesses innovate and increase productivity, growth and jobs in the area.”

One such company that has benefited from this support is Pennine Consultancy, which has developed a concept for a deaf-friendly face mask that includes a clear face part to allow lip reading.

Pennine hired PrintCity and is now leveraging the technology and expertise fully funded for the PrintCity Network.

David Butler, Director at Pennine Consultancy, said, “The 3D printing and vacuum foam technology was absolutely essential to the development of our product. It has enabled us to do our proof of concept and quickly produce the prototypes that we needed efficiently.

“The support from PrintCity has been invaluable and has given us access to the expertise and technology necessary to create a product that is not only fit for purpose but also suitable for the current marketplace.

“I think countless companies could benefit from taking advantage of what the university has to offer in this area.”

Mandy Parkinson, director of business and public engagement at Manchester Metropolitan added, “In the current situation, it will be important to have a strong base of innovative companies in Greater Manchester to support our economy as it recovers from COVID-19.

“We see the PrintCity network as a key player in supporting the Greater Manchester business community and will provide SMBs with a commercially proven step-by-step innovation process that ultimately leads to a product, service or process that can be launched. “

The project, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and funded by the university for a total of £ 3.2 million, will invest in the latest additive manufacturing technology to expand the already impressive range of PrintCity devices on site .

SMBs partnering with PrintCity Network not only get access to these devices, but they also get extensive innovation support to develop ideas and prototype new products before launch.

PrintCity Network kicks off this month, with the first cohort of SMEs receiving much-needed support in April 2021.