November 2013, London – The UK is leading the world in 3D printing research, according to Richard Hague, the University of Nottingham’s Professor of Innovative Manufacturing. As a luminary in the field of additive manufacturing, the technical term for 3D printing, Richard delivered the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Young Professional’s lecture recently at the Royal Institution and outlined its future potential as a core driver of industry innovation.
Forming part of the IET’s Prestige Lecture series and entitled ‘3D printing – the future of manufacturing?’, Hague’s lecture charted the past, present and future of additive manufacturing technology and implied that the UK has an exciting role to play in the development of the technology globally. Hague has been at the forefront of additive manufacturing research for twenty years and asserts that the UK currently leads the field, partly due to UK government’s foresight and its investment in the technology.
During the course of the lecture, Richard examined the development of 3D printing over the past three decades, and questioned the notion of a future where everyone would have a 3D printer in their home. Rather, he asserts that the technology’s true potential lies in reducing waste and increasing efficiency in the future manufacturing supply chain. Moving to his own research, Hague explained that 3D printers could soon be able to produce whole ‘systems’ rather than single function components, using topology optimisation and lattice-based designs, which he believes are set to transform the manufacturing supply chain.
“We were delighted to have such a knowledgeable, experienced and enthusiastic member of the engineering community address our audience on a topic that not only highlights the leadership of the UK, but just as importantly, engages the younger generations,” said Seb Ives, Group Manager, IET. “Richard Hague’s lecture was a perfect example of what our series of prestige lectures are designed to achieve: to provide the audience with informed insight into the future of engineering and technology and encourage younger generations to choose this sector as a career path, as they will be critical to the UK’s continued success on the global stage.”
Hague’s lecture was received by an audience comprised of engineers, designers, and academics, as well as business people, and IET members. It was well attended by younger professionals, although a broad range of ages was represented. The lecture was also broadcast live to an international audience online, via the IET’s website, where it can still be watched in full.
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