Friday, March 1, 2024

DOST formally unveils lab for advanced manufacturing, rapid prototyping

The Department of Science and Technology- Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) launched on Monday, June 14, its Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMCEN) as part of the celebration of the Metals and Engineering Week on June 14-18.

AMCEN is DOST’s top-of-the-line advanced manufacturing facility and state-of-the-art prototyping laboratory that aims to push the country’s manufacturing sector’s competitiveness to a higher level by increasing its technological readiness, business sophistication, and innovative capacity.

AMCEN, a facility that will also serve as an innovation hub for advanced manufacturing, will offer industrial design and development and rapid prototyping.

DOST secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña explained that rapid prototyping is ideal as “design alterations can be done quickly and efficiently.”

Rapid prototyping is the fast fabrication of a physical part, model or assembly using 3D computer aided design (CAD). The creation of the part, model or assembly is usually completed using additive manufacturing, or more commonly known as 3D printing.

The facility will also enable the country to develop sophisticated products and technologies in the fields of aerospace, defense, health and medical services, biotechnology, automotive, and electronics and semi-conductors.

“AMCEN cuts the production time especially in the prototyping stage,” elaborated de la Peña. “Which means more savings and we can now develop more complex designs at a shorter, more efficient way as additive manufacturing is better than the conventional subtractive manufacturing.”

Just a year after DOST announced its initial run, AMCEN has received a handful of requests from different private and public organizations for its prototyping services. One of these institutions that has availed of the services of AMCEN is the Philippine Army.

The Philippine Army’s Research and Development Center (RDC) tapped the AMCEN for the development of the prototype for the Improvised Explosive Device (EID) Distractor

project. The distractor is a device that disarms an explosive device by enabling it to explode inside its contraptions without destroying its parts and circuitries.

The project was able to develop the materials that aim to “protect the soldiers from direct contact with the IED,” said RDC director Lt. Col. Crisanto Prado.

Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry Region VII director Ma. Nannette Arbon said that AMCEN will be the catalyst of innovation for DTI’s 30 existing fabrication laboratories (Fablab).

She shared that AMCEN will enhance the Fablabs located in select universities in the country by providing capacity building on 3D printing, design, and testing. “We partnered with AMCEN and conducted 20 webinars on 3D printing,” shared Arbon.

The center also collaborated with the STAMINA4SPACE or the Sustained Support for Local Space Technology & Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement program to design and develop prototype parts for cube satellites under the PHL50 project.

Under the project, AMCEN is tasked to develop a microsatellite bus system containing the electronic and structural parts. The group collaborated in developing metal enclosures, frames for cube satellites, and camera baffles.

According to Dr. Marc Caesar Talampas, project leader of STAMINA4SPACE PHL50, “malaking tulong ang facility ng AMCEN para makapag-prototype ng mabilisan gaya ng mga part(s) like the antenna deployment mechanisms, camera baffle, and makapag-fabricate pa ng iba’t ibang parts at i-test ang mga ito.”

The celebration will be attended by various industry partners such as the Aerospace Industries Association of the Philippines, Metalworking Industries Association of the Philippines, Mechatronics and Robotics Society of the Philippines, PDMA, Inc., and the Philippine Welding Society. Aside from the launch, there will be several webinars on metal productions and 3D printing for the entire week.

Meanwhile, Dela Peña said the new facility in the DOST’s S&T Complex will enable the manufacturing sector face up to the emergence of the Industrial Revolution 4.0.

“We are proud of AMCEN as we believe that this is one of the many significant facilities that intend to increase the knowledge and capabilities of our manufacturing sector to make us more globally competitive and advanced.” — Joy M. Lazcano, DOST-STII

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