RMIT enjoys an excellent reputation as a training and research institution. For the past six years, the Australian university has dedicated its "Centre for Additive Manufacturing" to the science of digital Additive Manufacturing. The memorandum of understanding is mainly based on the adjunct professorship awarded in 2019 to Prof. Christoph Leyens, Director of the Institute of Materials Science at Dresden University of Technology and head of the Fraunhofer IWS. In the past years, Christoph Leyens and his research team have succeeded in setting internationally visible accents and in establishing Additive Manufacturing as a lighthouse at the science location Dresden. Thus, AM experts at the Fraunhofer IWS and TU Dresden develop innovative material and manufacturing solutions for aerospace, energy and medical technology as well as mechanical engineering, toolmaking and automotive engineering in the "Additive Manufacturing Center Dresden" (AMCD). From the AMCD, they coordinate "AGENT-3D", one of the major European research projects on Additive Manufacturing.
Setting the course for the Australian manufacturing sector
The partnership was launched to connect high-performance technology and leading experts from both countries. Australian companies will benefit in the course of industrial projects. A key element of the cooperation is the research transfer by exchanging employees and students from both institutions and their know-how. The program includes research into digital manufacturing, improved automation and data-driven processes – all related to 3D printing and associated technologies. For decades, the Australian economy has been based on the extraction of raw materials. In contrast, the equally important manufacturing sector is experiencing a decline in value added and productivity. The technology of 3D printing will now be used as an agile tool for customized manufacturing and repair of high quality metal parts, especially in transportation, renewable energy and mining sectors.
Benefits for both Fraunhofer IWS and German industry
"Our primary goal is to establish more intensive contact to the Australian market, which offers so much latent potential for Additive Manufacturing," says Prof. Leyens. "The mutual exchange of experts and the joint, high-quality training of tomorrow's researchers will provide an additional boost." The renowned materials scientist emphasizes that the agreement is the very first of its kind that Fraunhofer IWS has signed in Australia. It contributes significantly to connecting the German and Australian industry and thus strengthening the international relations of both countries.
The consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic only have an insignificant influence on the planned activities. Online cooperation has already begun. As soon as safe travel is possible again, researchers from the Dresden Fraunhofer institute will travel to Melbourne to work together on industry-related projects.