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Game-changing 3D print innovations invented at Loughborough University feature at the heart of new manufacturing centre

An advanced 3D printing technique developed at Loughborough University which is capable of mass-producing up to 100,000 components a day will be at the heart of a new manufacturing centre, officially launched this week.

Xaar CEO Doug Edwards (left) and Professor Neil Hopkinson, Director of 3D printing, (right) unveil a plaque fittingly covered with 3D printed fabric

The process known as high speed sintering (HSS) was created 14 years ago by academics at Loughborough, who perfected the process over 10 years – achieving international recognition for the project in 2009, winning a breakthrough technology award from the American SME.

The unique method is up to 100 times faster than existing techniques, and has been recognised for elevating the production capabilities of additive manufacturing (3D printing) from small-scale manufacture of single objects to being able to complete major industrial quotas of complex components.

The ground-breaking technique is at the heart of the global print technology provider Xaar’s new 3D Centre, at the Nottingham Science Park, which opened yesterday.

The centre will showcase the capabilities of HSS and highlight its potential to improve mass manufacturing of industrial parts and components in highly competitive industries such as aerospace, consumer products, automotive, medical and sports and leisure.

Yesterday’s official opening was attended by more than 30 specially invited guests, including ABB, BAE Systems, Unilever and Jaguar Land Rover.

Professor Hopkinson, who led the inception and development of HSS during his 10 years working as Loughborough’s inaugural Enterprise Fellow, is now Xaar’s director of 3D printing.

He said: “There is no doubt that high speed sintering technology can transform 3D printing from a low volume prototyping solution to a mainstream manufacturing process.

“The step change to high volume manufacturing will be most efficiently achieved through partnerships with committed stakeholders across the supply chain.

“Our new 3D Centre in Nottingham is the ideal location for such partnerships to flourish.”

Loughborough University’s Pro Vice Chancellor Enterprise, Professor Tracy Bhamra, said: “We are delighted that Xaar has invested in this major facility to advance 3D printing in volume manufacturing, underpinned by intellectual property developed at Loughborough University.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 17/49

Loughborough University is equipped with a live in-house broadcast unit via the Globelynx network. To arrange an interview with one of our experts please contact the press office on 01509 223491. Bookings can be made online via www.globelynx.com

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world to study sports-related subjects in the 2017 QS World University Rankings and top in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough was ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2017 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2017 and was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.

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