Straits Times reported that new standards to ensure 3D printed goods are made with consistent quality and safe use have been rolled out. The standards were developed by NAMIC@SUTD.

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New standards have been rolled out to drive more companies, especially start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to use 3D printing to make products on demand and save costs.

The two new standards seek to ensure that 3D printed goods are made with consistent quality and are safe to use.

They were announced yesterday by the Singapore Standards Council and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) on the third day of the Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific (Itap) 2021 event at Singapore Expo. The council is overseen by ESG.

The standards were developed by the council, Ministry of Defence and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (Namic). Other stakeholders were involved too, such as the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Singapore Manufacturing Federation – Standards Development Organisation, and assurance and risk management firm DNV.

Also called additive manufacturing, 3D printing involves adding layers of materials on top of one another, such as metals and polymers like plastic, to create a product.

Mr Marc Lee, Namic’s head of intellectual property and commercialisation, said the companies that use 3D printing have traditionally been multinational corporations because they have the resources to develop their own internal standards, which are not shared. “But now with the new standards, (other) enterprises and even start-ups will be able to use them for their own operations,” he said.

The 3D printing allows for more flexible and innovative designs. For instance, SUTD’s 20kg AirTable – a table with three legs – which can support a weight of up to 200kg, has complex nodes that are difficult to make with traditional processes, so 3D printing is used.

The AirTable from SUTD has complex node-like joints made from 3D printing.PHOTO: SUTD

While cost savings from 3D printing vary across products and scenarios, DNV gave an example of a company needing just a few units of a spare part but the minimum order was about 100.

With 3D printing, the firm could make just two to three of the parts required and could, in some scenarios, save 70 per cent on costs.

Still, buying traditionally manufactured parts in bulk could cost 10 per cent less than buying the same number of 3D printed versions. But when purchasing in small numbers, the costs for both are about the same in some cases, said DNV.

On how the new 3D printing standards were developed, SAF explained that it has been using the process to create prototypes for military use, such as drones.

But SAF realised there was a lack of 3D printing standards that met military needs. It developed its own standards, which turned out to have commercial applications.

The first new standard launched yesterday, Singapore Standard 666, provides guidelines on how to produce 3D printed metal parts.

It sets out industry best practices in areas such as the maintenance of 3D printers, training for operators and raw materials used.

The standard also provides a guide on the type of tests needed for 3D printed parts, based on how critical the part is.

The second standard rolled out, Technical Reference 92, covers design guidelines for complex 3D printed components. These include helping companies factor safety and reliability in designs, and consider various requirements in the design process before the parts are made.

The new 3D printing standards can be bought from the Singapore Standards eShop.


More News on the Launch of the New Standards Initiatives:

  1. The Straits Times/ST Online: New 3D printing standards launched to help SMEs adopt additive manufacturing
  2. Lianhe Zaobao/ZB Online: Additive manufacturing industry launched two sets of new standards to help enterprises adopt safer working procedures
  3. Channel NewsAsia/CNA Online: New industry standards drawn up for 3D printing | Video
  4. Channel 8 News/8world: Singapore launched industry guidelines to ensure the quality and safety of 3D printing products
  5. Seithi Mediacorp (Tamil News): Introducing the New 3D printing standards
  6. Singapore Business Review: 4 new standards initiatives on I4.0 technologies adoption launched