Swinburne 4.0 test lab to feature Fill's multilayer printing technology

The centrepiece of Swinburne’s testlab is the world’s first industrial scale 3D printing “multilayer” approach to carbon fibre composite manufacture developed by Fill.

Swinburne (Melbourne, Australia) is establishing the world’s first operational Industry 4.0 Testlab for carbon composite manufacturing as part of its groundbreaking research into digital manufacturing processes.

The centrepiece of Swinburne’s Industry 4.0 Testlab is the world’s first industrial scale 3D printing “multilayer” approach to carbon fibre composite manufacture. The process has been developed by world leading Austrian engineering company Fill (Gurten, Austria), to Swinburne’s specifications in consultation with an industry consortium.

Fill’s unique multilayer printing technology will be able to produce commercial parts out of carbon fibre at a cheaper cost, with minimal waste and improved production capability. The company’s multilayer machine is designed to build individual stack geometries in any orientation. A short cycle time allows integrating in an injection moulding or forming process. This means high flexibility in part design and the machine’s accurate position systems allow near net shape production and minimal waste. 

The multilayer process represents a digitally enabled step change in technology that will allow Swinburne to build Australia’s first mature Industry 4.0 carbon fibre composite product Testlab.

Swinburne deputy vice chancellor of research, Professor Aleksandar Subic, says new generation materials such as carbon fibre composites are at the heart of Swinburne’s Industry 4.0 Testlab and Factory of the Future. “The partnership with Fill is of particular importance to our strategy as it allows us to introduce a unique form of 3D printing technology for composite products to our lab and fully automate the process,” says Subic.

Swinburne’s move to implement the Industry 4.0 Testlab comes only months after receiving a record $135 million industrial digitisation grant from engineering giant Siemens to digitise its Factory of the Future and create Australia’s first fully immersed Industry 4.0 facility.