Mon, Aug 19, 2013 - Page 14 News List

FEATURE: ITRI to assist application of 3D printing techniques

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Last month, Getac Technology Corp (神基科技) formed a 3D printing joint venture with Japanese 3D printer maker Matsuura Machinery.

However, there are concerns about 3D printing technologies.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) chairman Terry Guo (郭台銘) warned that 3D printing was only media hype.

Gou strongly opposed the idea that 3D printing will launch a third industrial revolution as it is not a brand new technology.

“Hon Hai introduced the company’s first 3D [printing] equipment 30 years ago,” Gou said.

Starting as a module manufacturer, Hon Hai now is the world’s biggest electronics manufacturer, counting Apple Inc as its top client.

Horng said it is true that 3D printing is not new, as the technique has been evolving.

“Additive manufacturing technology is maturing. It can make products with quality approaching to that made by subtractive technology and it [additive technology] is nearing its commercial use,” Horng said.

The technology is suitable for making small-volume niche parts, rather than as a substitute for the traditional module manufacturing technique, that has long been used to make large volumes of components, he said.

In subtractive manufacturing, products are made by removing materials.

In the initial stage, 3D printers were used to make plastic prototypes, but the technique is now being used to make the actual metal parts, Horng said.

That has greatly boosted the commercial use of 3D printing technology, he said.

Yulong Motor Co (裕隆汽車) has used 3D printing techniques to create a prototype of an engine for its Luxgen-brand motors to reduce marketing time, abandoning traditional modeling, which is time-consuming and expensive.

TYC Brother Industrial Co (堤維西) plans to make automotive front lights using 3D printing technology licensed from ITRI, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

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