AMCRC’s John Croft spells out the possible research funding future for Additive Manufacturing in Australia.

The Additive Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (AMCRC) is an industry-led collaborative research funding organisation focused on advancing Australia’s additive manufacturing sector.

The centre brings together industry partners, developing the next generation of products and services, and research institutions to conduct cutting-edge research, develop new technologies, and drive innovation to foster a globally competitive innovation ecosystem for advanced manufacturing.

The CRC matches dollar-for-dollar Industry Partner cash for collaborative manufacturing R&D and innovation projects with CRC Research Partners. This is a potential fit for Industry Partners (e.g. manufacturing and related businesses) where strategy includes:

  • investing in an eligible transformative manufacturing R&D project with a CRC Research Partner of between two and five years in duration, that can commence from 2025 onwards;
  • spending at least $250,000 cash per project to fund the cost of researcher salaries and operating costs at a CRC Research Partner (which, if eligible, the CRC can match dollar for dollar up to a maximum of five million dollars per business);
  • with the Research Partner(s) conducting at least 50% of the overall project research effort;
  • utilising and/or developing new manufacturing technologies and business models aligned with the CRC Research Programs to deliver commercial outcomes, including within Australia, ideally within three years of completion of the project;
  • collaborating with other Australian manufacturing SMEs through the project.

Some of the unique problems that Australian manufacturers face including a heavy reliance on overseas supply chains with massive shipping costs and associated emissions are a huge opportunity for AM to solve by allowing the localisation of volume-sensitive production of complex, high-value, and customisable components. AM also gives product designers and engineers incredible freedom to lightweight the next generation of transport and aerospace components driving fuel efficiency and emission reduction, while Increasing electric vehicles’ range. EV battery technology is rapidly evolving and AM’s ability to print high surface area to weight ratio parts in almost any critical mineral opens up opportunities for those very minerals to be converted into high-value products that could unlock net zero pathways for Australian manufacturing. Couple this with our growing access to affordable renewable energy, which means there will be long-term sustainable opportunities for ambitious manufacturers to build new product portfolios for export markets.

The development and application of next-generation AM technologies coupled with innovation and capability building will be the catalyst for manufacturing growth and transformation and the focus of the Additive Manufacturing CRC.