3D Printing

UK looks to build on world-leading 3D printing research

5th November 2013
Nat Bowers

According to Richard Hague, Professor of Innovative Manufacturing at the University of Nottingham, the UK is leading the world in 3D printing research. A luminary in the field of additive manufacturing (the technical term for 3D printing), Richard recently delivered the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Young Professionals’ lecture at the Royal Institution and outlined its future potential as a core driver of industry innovation.

Titled ‘3D printing – the future of manufacturing?’, Hague’s lecture charted the past, present and future of additive manufacturing technology. Part of the IET’s Prestige Lecture series, Hague also implied that the UK has an exciting role to play in the development of the technology globally. At the forefront of additive manufacturing research for twenty years, Hague asserts that the UK currently leads the field, partly due to UK government’s foresight and its investment in the technology.

In his lecture Richard examined the development of 3D printing over the past three decades, and questioned the notion of a future where everyone would have a 3D printer in their home. Instead he believes that the true potential of the technology lies in reducing waste and increasing efficiency in the future manufacturing supply chain. Discussing his own research, Hague explained that 3D printers could soon be able to produce whole ‘systems’ rather than single function components, using topology optimisation and lattice-based designs, which he believes are set to transform the manufacturing supply chain.

Seb Ives, Group Manager, IET, comments: “We were delighted to have such a knowledgeable, experienced and enthusiastic member of the engineering community address our audience on a topic that not only highlights the leadership of the UK, but just as importantly, engages the younger generations."

Hague’s lecture was received by an audience comprised of engineers, designers, and academics, as well as business people, and IET members. It was well attended by younger professionals, although a broad range of ages was represented. The lecture was also broadcast live to an international audience online, via the IET’s website, where it can still be watched in full.

The next lecture will be the Turing Lecture entitled: ‘Information technology in a “post-silicon world”; Innovations, applications, and anticipations’. It will be delivered by IBM’s Vice President for Innovation, Dr. Meyerson. Once again, the lecture will be held at the Royal Institution, London, on Monday 24 February 2014.

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