SINGAPORE - UL, a US-based safety consulting and certification company, announced on Thursday that it will invest $8 million to open a global centre here for training, material and process qualification, advisory and research in 3D printing.
UL said its Global Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence, which will be supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), is expected to employ 10 technical experts.
Additive manufacturing - more commonly known as 3D printing - is the process of joining materials, usually layer upon layer, to make objects from three-dimensional model data, as compared to subtractive manufacturing methods.
UL said the project is driven by its vision that AM will be the catalyst for the global transformation in manufacturing.
Founded in 1894 as Underwriters Laboratories, UL has participated in the safety analysis of many of the last century's new technologies, most notably the public adoption of electricity and the drafting of safety standards for electrical devices and components. It now partners with businesses, manufacturers, trade associations and international regulatory authorities to bring solutions to the complex global supply chain.
UL said it aims to to work with local research institutes and industry partners such as the Singapore Centre for 3D Printing and the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre here to "help create a vibrant AM industry in Singapore and the region".
Said Mr Simin Zhou, UL's vice president of digital manufacturing technologies: "We anticipate this site will be the first step of several as we continue to expand into other 3D printing markets, bringing knowledge and best practices."
EDB's assistant managing director, Mr Lim Kok Kiang, said the new centre "will play a catalytic role in helping our industrial companies strengthen their manufacturing competitiveness."
"This global center is also aligned with Singapore's vision to be the advanced manufacturing hub of Asia that drives the development of disruptive technologies such as Additive Manufacturing and robotics," he added.