Tag Archives: EPSRC

New circular economy and 3D printing working paper

Back in February the Bit by Bit team responded to an EPSRC call for expressions of interest on the theme of the circular economy. As we’d been looking at sustainability issues connected to 3D printing we thought that this would be an excellent call to enable us to advance research in this area. However we knew that we couldn’t do the work alone and so coordinated a research proposal with Fiona Charnley at Cranfield University, Martin Baumers at the University of Nottingham, and Alysia Garmulewicz and Felix Reed-Tsochas at the University of Oxford, and with industrial support from Jonathan Rowley at Digits2Widgets, Scott Knowles at Fila-Cycle, and Phil Brown at the HSSMI.

Unfortunately our expression of interest wasn’t taken to the next stage of the proposal process. Despite this disappointment, the group was convinced of the importance of this work and so we’ve continued to work together, synthesizing our knowledge and perspectives from across our disciplines in a research paper “Unlocking value for a circular economy through 3D printing: a research agenda“. We’ve submitted this paper to the journal, Technological Forecasting & Social Change, and hope that the research agenda it outlines can provide a platform for other researchers to build on.

 

Abstract

The circular economy (CE) aims to radically improve resource efficiency by eliminating the concept of waste and leading to a shift away from the linear take-make-waste model. In a CE, resources are flowing in a circular manner either in a biocycle (biomass) or technocycle (inorganic materials). While early studies indicate that 3D printing (3DP) holds substantial promise for sustainability and the creation of a CE, there is no guarantee that it will do so. There is great uncertainty regarding whether the current trajectory of 3DP adoption is creating more circular material flows or if it is leading to an alternative scenario in which less eco-efficient localised production, demands for customised goods, and a higher rate of product obsolescence combine to bring about increased resource consumption. It is critical that CE principles are embedded into the new manufacturing system before the adoption of 3DP reaches a critical inflection point in which negative practices become entrenched. This paper, authored by both academic and industry experts, proposes a research agenda to determine enablers and barriers for 3DP to achieve a CE. We explore the two following overarching questions to discover what specific issues they entail: (1) How can a more distributed manufacturing system based on 3DP create a circular economy of closed-loop material flows? (2) What are the barriers to a circular 3D printing economy? We specifically examine six areas—design, supply chains, information flows, entrepreneurship, business models and education—with the aim of formulating a research agenda to enable 3DP to reach its full potential for a CE.

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Presentations from 3DP-RDM Dissemination workshop

On the 13th January 2016, presentations from the first four 3DP-RDM feasibility studies were made at the 3DP-RDM Dissemination workshop in Cambridge. PDFs of the slides used by each presenter are linked below.

Three of the four presentations were final summaries of the work conducted in 2015. The exception is the CAD Data Transfer Standards study, which continues to the end of March 2016. If you have questions regarding the work conducted in the feasibility studies please follow up with the lead researchers of each project.

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Job opportunity: Research Assistant/Associate in Design for Additive Manufacturing

We’re delighted for our colleague at the IfM, James Moultrie, who recently won EPSRC funding for a new project “Design for Additive Manufacturing“.

Following his success, James is now looking for a researcher to join the project. Information about the post and the application process can be found here. The deadline for applications is 14th September 2015.

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Introducing the 3DP-RDM Feasibility Studies: Investigating the Impact of CAD Data Transfer Standards for 3DP-RDM

Following the recent feasibility study competition, the 3DP-RDM network is funding four projects in 2015. In this series of blog posts we introduce the four studies. Today we begin with the first study, “Investigating the Impact of CAD Data Transfer Standards for 3DP-RDM”, which is being led by Dr Eujin Pei (pictured) at Brunel University.

Additive Manufacturing is set to play a vital role in the Re-Distributed Manufacturing landscape. The paradigm shift towards a decentralised approach of cloud manufacturing and dynamic production requires tighter standardisation and efficient interfaces between CAD data and Additive Manufacturing. In parallel with technology advancements, it is important to consider the digital chain of information. Although a plethora of CAD formats exist, only some are used for data transfer. The problem is that a true CAD data transfer standard for a 3DP-RDM ecosystem does not exist. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of CAD data transfer standards within the 3DP-RDM landscape.

This will be achieved in three phases. In the first phase, a literature review will be conducted to understand the data flow from CAD to the process of Additive Manufacturing. In the second phase, we will examine AMF, STEP and STEP-NC formats that are most widely adopted and to investigate the advantages, disadvantages, similarities and differences of these standards. In the final phase, we will interview industry leaders and experts to obtain feedback. Through this survey, we aim to identify the beneficiaries of 3DP-RDM CAD data transfer standards; and which CAD data transfer standard has the greatest competitive advantage for a future 3DP-RDM landscape. We will also investigate the opportunities and requirements for open architecture data transfer standards.

About Eujin

Eujin works as a full-time academic within the Department of Design at Brunel University in the UK. He is the Convenor for the International Standards Organisation (ISO) Technical Committee for Data and Design Guidelines for Additive Manufacture; and Committee Member for British Standards Institution (BSI) AMT/8 for Additive Manufacturing, and BS8888 and BS8887. He is the Associate Editor for the Journal of Assembly Automation, and a Guest Editor for an upcoming Special Issue of the Rapid Prototyping Journal. For further information about this project or to engage in the feasibility study please contact him.

Second Redistributed Manufacturing Healthcare Research Network (RiHN) workshop – 28 April 2015

 

Personalised medicine is estimated to grow to two billion euros by 2018. Redistributed Manufacturing (RDM) has the potential to support this growth. This involves a shift towards more localised production, enabling faster response, lower cost or better preservation of sensitive goods. RDM can provide tailored, right-first-time treatments to all patients, allowing for the best therapy for an individual patient to be rapidly determined. However, as the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) points out, there are a range of technical and managerial challenges as well as business, regulatory and resource implications which must be understood and solved.

This workshop will be hosted by Redistributed Manufacturing Healthcare Research Network (RiHN). The RiHN aims to deliver a single vision of the research needed to position the UK at the forefront of healthcare manufacturing. Network partners include cross disciplinary researchers from the Universities of Cambridge, Brunel, Nottingham, Newcastle, Loughborough and the West of England. The network is sponsored by the EPSRC and is supported by Innovate UK.

This free to attend event gives participants an opportunity to network with healthcare professionals, scope out R&D issues from a multi-disciplinary perspective, establish early stage collaborations and formulate potential areas of investigation that can be tested and scaled up into larger R&D programmes.

Key outputs from the day will help shape a future call in June 2015, which will invite bids to compete for 5-6 feasibility studies, worth £65k each. If you have an interest in pharmaceuticals and advanced therapeutics, we strongly recommend that you attend. This is the second of two workshops; the first was oriented towards medical devices, diagnostics and dentistry.

Date: 28 April 2015

Venue:  Vaughan Parry Williams Pavillion, Highfields Sports Ground, University of Nottingham, University Park Campus

Register here

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