- POSTED: 01 Oct 2013 12:11
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Organisers of Singapore's first 3D printing event - "Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo" - says Singapore has the potential to grow 3D printing technology in the region.
SINGAPORE: 3D printing technology is worth US$4 billion globally and it is set to grow by about 20 per cent in the next 10 years.
Singapore hopes to catch up with the US and Europe in this field. It recently announced that it will pump in S$500 million over the next five years to develop this sector.
Organisers of Singapore's first 3D printing event - "Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo" - said holding the event here signals that Singapore has the potential to grow 3D printing technology in the region.
The event features 10 exhibitors from four countries. One of them is US-based firm 3D Systems, the biggest player in the industry. The other three countries are Israel, Belgium and Singapore.
Tradeshow co-organiser Associate Professor Ian Gibson from National University of Singapore's Engineering Design & Innovation Centre, said: "It's going to be important to everybody around the world. It's not just a matter of whether it's important to Singapore or Singaporeans.
"Once the government is set that they want to invest in this area, the investor community will come on board. We have a highly educated workforce with a great understanding of technology."
The event will feature talks, tutorials and exhibitions on 3D printing technology.
Members of public can attend the business-to-business event with a S$700 registration fee.
More than 500 participants are expected to attend the two-day event.
3D printing: The next industrial revolution?
The concept of 3D printing is not hard to understand. Simply put, the end product is a replica of the object that users want to print and they can even customise it in any way they want.
The printing machines get 3D images from a computer that maps out the object. These machines then add layer after layer of material which can range from powder, ceramic, plastic or even sugar, until the object is complete.
Wim Michiels, CEO of Materialise Malaysian, believes 3D printing can revolutionise the healthcare sector.
He explained: "Once you have the images, you have a 3D (image) of a patient, then you do 3D-based planning of the surgery. The planning is used to engineer a physical guide and this guide will help to decide where to cut, where to drill, where to reposition the bone segment and so on."
Printers for industrial uses can cost about a US$1 million but Channel NewsAsia understood a local firm is hoping to sell them for below S$1,000 next year.