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NUS establishes additive manufacturing facilities for biomedical applications
The new centre will work with industry and local hospitals to support adoption of advanced manufacturing technology in Singapore’s healthcare sector.

The National University of Singapore Centre for Additive Manufacturing (or AM.NUS) was launched by Mr Amrin Amin, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health, at the Additive Manufacturing Healthcare Summit. This Summit is jointly organised by the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) and NUS Enterprise.

The establishment of AM.NUS is jointly supported by NAMIC and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). With an initial funding of S$18 million from NUS, NAMIC and EDB, AM.NUS will focus on developing and applying ground-breaking additive manufacturing (AM) technology in the biomedical and healthcare fields.

The new centre will also leverage on NUS’ multi-disciplinary expertise from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Dentistry and School of Design and Environment, to boost the university’s capabilities in the field of AM-enabled biomedical technology.

“The NUS Centre for Additive Manufacturing will play a critical role in supporting Singapore’s vision of becoming a leading AM hub. Through this inter-faculty pooling of expertise, we hope to boost technology capabilities as well as advance intellectual property development and commercialisation of AM-enabled biomedical technologies,” said Professor Jerry Fuh Ying- Hsi, Co-Director of AM.NUS, who is the Thrust Lead of Restorative Repair & Implants and from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the NUS Faculty of Engineering.

“We have targeted the biomedical sector, as the end goal is to introduce new innovative products to the market which can improve patient outcomes and healthcare delivery,” added Associate Professor Wilson Wang Ee Jen, Co-Director, AM.NUS, who is also from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.

AM.NUS will drive AM R&D in the biomedical sector along the following key thrusts:

1) Developing surgical instruments, simulators and prosthetics – Researchers from the Division of Industrial Design at the NUS School of Design and Environment aim to create customisable surgical tools and simulators for educating the next generation of doctors or simplifying difficult clinical tasks. The team will also design functional prosthetics using AM technology.

2) 3D Printing-enabled customised medicine – Researchers from the Department of Pharmacy at the NUS Faculty of Science are exploring use of AM-enabled drug formulations and individualised control of dosage/ drug release.

3) Bio-printing for tissue repair – Scientists from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine will be studying new solutions to regenerate and replace damaged tissues by using advanced materials and scaffold printing techniques, combined with tissue engineering.

4) Restorative repairs and implants – Researchers from the NUS Faculty of Engineering are exploring functional printing and developing ceramic and metal AM materials and processes, in order to bring novel and more biocompatible implants to market.

5) Oral health and craniofacial applications – The NUS Faculty of Dentistry will be leading educational efforts in advanced computer-aided oral surgery and surgical planning. The Faculty will also conduct research on the use of AM in dental implant design and tissue engineering.

AM.NUS consists of two laboratories – one located at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and the other at the Faculty of Engineering. These facilities are equipped with the latest AM equipment, including powder-, plastics- and liquid- based printers, 3D scanners, CAD image processing and design software, as well as testing and validation facilities. AM.NUS will also run AM-related courses for post-graduate students, deepening the local talent pool within this field. Graduates will learn and gain hands-on experience in AM processes, materials technologies and design for AM principles. This will enhance the quality of customised products and services and raise the productivity of many industry sectors as a whole.

AM.NUS will work closely with industry partners to develop and transfer AM technologies for biomedical applications. At the ceremony, four industry partners signed collaboration Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with AM.NUS, witnessed by Mr Amrin Amin.

These industry partners are:

1) Creatz3D – This local SME will partner AM.NUS to develop next-generation medical training and educational simulation.

2) Dou Yee Enterprises – This pioneering mid-sized local company with established bases of manufacturing in Asia, using metal injection moulding technologies, will collaborate with AM.NUS to develop capability for 3D printed precision parts.

3) Forefront Additive Manufacturing – This local precision engineering company will be leveraging on AM.NUS’ biomedical capabilities to grow their business in the healthcare space.

4) Osteopore International – This local pioneering SME that specialises in AM will partner AM.NUS in the design, development and clinical trials of 3D-printed bioscaffolds for orthopaedic applications.

“AM.NUS will bring together NUS technologies with industry expertise, enabling the accelerated translation of NUS technologies into innovative healthcare products and services. The Centre is already working on a total of 17 collaborative projects, and has raised about S$4.7 million in additional project funding,” said Dr Lily Chan, CEO NUS Enterprise.

“Additive manufacturing (AM) is a disruptive technology that should be embraced by Singapore’s manufacturing industries”, said Mr Chang Chin Nam, Executive Director (Precision Engineering), EDB. “To support technology development and encourage industrywide adoption, Singapore has embarked on building AM capabilities within the public and private sectors, both in R&D and workforce training. In close partnership with the National University Health System, AM.NUS will therefore complement Singapore’s AM efforts in the biomedical industry.”

“As a cluster founding member, together with NTU’s Singapore Centre for 3D Printing and SUTD’s Digital Manufacturing and Design Research Centre, the NUS Centre for Additive Manufacturing will play a vital role in NAMIC’s translational research and industry adoption efforts, further strengthening Singapore’s efforts to become a global 3D printing technology hub. As the industrialisation of 3D printing gains momentum, our goal is help the sector achieve better patient outcomes, addressing the needs of our bio-medical and patient community with cost-effective and personalised healthcare solutions,” said Dr Ho Chaw Sing, Managing Director NAMIC.

Source: NUS

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