Royal interest in metal 3D printing

His Royal Highness the Duke of York visited the Renishaw-supported additive manufacturing research facilities on a recent visit to the University of Liverpool. During his visit, in support of the International Festival of Business, the Duke was shown two Renishaw additive manufacturing (metal 3D printing) machines recently supplied by the company to the University’s School of Engineering and discussed the increasing applications for this exciting technology.

During his visit The Duke of York met representatives from Renishaw’s Additive Manufacturing Products Division, including Simon Scott, Director and General Manager, and Chris Sutcliffe, R&D Director.

Mr Scott was impressed with the level of knowledge shown by The Duke about additive manufacturing and 3D printing, saying: “He asked many thoughtful questions regarding the technology, particularly concerning its use in applications with tighter regulatory environments such as the aerospace and medical industries. His Royal Highness also expressed concern at the slow pace of uptake of the technology by industry, identifying that a lack of training and technology transfer might be to blame for this situation.”

The two Renishaw additive manufacturing machines installed in the School of Engineering are part of on-going research collaborations between the University of Liverpool and Renishaw. The machines utilise a pioneering laser melting process capable of producing fully dense metal parts directly from 3D CAD using a high-powered fibre laser. Parts are built from materials, including alloys of titanium and aluminium amongst many others, by fully melting 20 to 100 micron thick layers which eventually form the final part.

His Royal Highness also spoke to a number of PhD students based at the University during his visit to the additive manufacturing laboratories including Ian Ashton, a Renishaw sponsored research student who is investigating the process control of additive manufacturing machines.

Mr Ashton commented, “It was a pleasure to meet Prince Andrew and it was great to see such high levels of knowledge and interest in UK Science and Technology expressed by a member of the Royal Family.”