Irish researchers win international 3D printing competition

I-Form win
Dr Sarah Brady, I-Form, with Charles Han, Intamys

UCD-based research project takes $10,000 prize

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14 November 2018 | 0

A team of Irish researchers has won first prize in a global competition for industrial 3D printing. The team of UCD-based researchers at I-Form – the SFI research centre for advanced manufacturing – scooped a prize worth $10,000 for their project: the design and print of a disposable 3D printed reactor.

The polymer reactor can be used to controllably mix chemical precursors used in the manufacture of pharmaceutical agents.

The competition was run by Intamsys, a manufacturer of industrial 3D printing systems with its headquarters in Shanghai, and was open to entries from around the globe.

The award was given for the design and print of a disposable 3D printed reactor for carrying out chemical reactions: As the materials move through the reactor, they mix and react to form the pharmaceutical intermediates or product. The part is known as a continuous flow reactor. This type of reactor is now becoming common within the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector, as they allow product to be produced continually, under more aggressive conditions, with better control over heating, cooling and improved mixing, enabling much faster reactions to be conducted. This can enable dramatic reduction in facility size and cost, with equivalent production rates.

The winning entry was designed by Dr Matthew Harding and Dr Steven Ferguson in UCD Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering, and printed by Dr Sarah Brady, under the supervision of I-Form director Prof Denis Dowling.

The prize was presented to Dr Brady from the Irish team at the Formnext additive manufacturing conference in Frankfurt this week.

Prof Dowling said: “Additive manufacturing opens up a world of possibilities for industrial processes. At I-Form we work closely with industry to advance the low-cost, low-risk design of new products and the manufacture of high-value components with enhanced material performance, alongside the reduction of processing times and enhancing process reliability.”

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