Recognising the fact that Additive Manufacturing or 3D printing is enabling the ‘4th Industrial Revolution’, the Sharjah Research, Technology, and Innovation Park (SRTI Park) is developing an integrated work system for smart companies in the emirate to boost innovations in self-driving vehicles, oil and gas sector, medical and allied sciences, manufacturing, and other industries.
Developed in the 1980s, 3D printing is the creation of three-dimensional objects by laying down continuous layers of material using different types of substances, including plastics, metals and biological materials.
Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTI Park, noted: “3-D printing is disrupting the global manufacturing industry and companies must innovate and adapt to this technology 3D printing proved itself vital early in the pandemic, when companies like Immensa Technology Labs, an engineering company based at SRTI Park that usually focuses on spare parts for the oil and gas industry and 3D printing components, has succeeded in developing, designing and producing a variety of face masks that were used to prevent COVID-19 infection.”
3D printing is also being used in making parts for medical equipment, PPE (personal protective equipment), respirators and ventilators. In the power and utility sector, 3D printers are used to manufacture spare parts for power generation, transmission and distribution. The airline and space industries also utilise 3D printing to create vital parts and components. Printing cars and homes has likewise become a reality because of the 3D printing technology.
Al Mahmoudi noted: “Companies and start-ups should take advantage of the rising application of 3D printing technology in almost every industry. At SRTI Park, we provide an ecosystem for companies to produce technical solutions, share knowledge and best practices, as well as provide a platform for mechanical testing, technical analysis, and research and development, and financial studies,” he added.
Al Mahmoudi said the Sharjah Open Innovation Laboratory (SOILAB) at SRTI Park is the first incubator for start-ups and innovative businesses in Sharjah while the Middle East Center for Additive Manufacturing, which was launched to boost the UAE’s goal of becoming a global centre for 3D printing.
Forging the future of 3D printing
According to industry experts, the global 3D printing market is slated to reach US$ 52 billion by 2027. The healthcare industry is one of the sectors set to gain big from this technology. from the rising application of 3D printing technology as it has attained popularity in the medical field such as in orthopedics, creating patient-specific body parts and organs using data from CT and MRI scans as well as replicating anatomical structures for patients. It is possible now to print a number of body parts, including teeth, jaw bones, thighs, and auditory organs, among others. Some scientists have also developed the use of 3D printing to produce models of cancerous parts of the body, so that doctors can target malignant tumours with better accuracy.
There is also an incredible growth in demand for 3D printing in the automotive industry as it continues to innovate in creating components and patterns for metal castings, spare parts and other vehicle components.
‘Join the Industrial Revolution now’
It is without a doubt that 3D printing technology will lead to a comprehensive industrial revolution.
Al Mahmoudi remarked: “Companies – if they want to be part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – must take advantage of 3D printing or additive manufacturing now.”
“Deemed as one of most disruptive technologies of our time, 3D printing is the answer to various business challenges. Its transformative approach to industrial production enables the creation of cheaper, bespoke, lighter, stronger parts and systems,” he added.
Al Mahmoudi also invited various companies in the region and beyond the UAE to set-up their business at SRTI Park and experience a monumental shift in the global additive manufacturing market as they enjoy the support of other enterprises and benefit from the triple helix of collaboration among companies, the government, and academia.
Region’s first 3D-printed villa inaugurated at Sharjah Innovation Park
The first 3D-printed fully-functional villa in the Middle East was unveiled . It was built at the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park), with the design following traditional architecture but constructed using three-dimensional or 3D-printing techniques.
the villa was finished in just two weeks, and it involved a large research programme between different universities, especially the American University of Sharjah, in collaboration with the private sector and some international universities in Finland and research institutions in the Netherlands as well as other countries.
Latest additive manufacturing technology
The entire house was built with the latest additive manufacturing technology; the design emulated the architectural heritage of the UAE with the purpose of fostering Sharjah’s status as a preferred destination for this type of cutting-edge building technique and forward-thinking architecture.