Glass Technology Services (GTS), a glass specialist, has joined manufacturers, designers and suppliers to conduct pioneering research and development in 3D printing technology.

Part of a new £8.4 million Government investment programme, ‘Inspiring new design freedoms in additive manufacturing’ is funded by Innovate UK.

GTS is working in partnership with JRI Orthopaedics, 3T RPD, Delta T Devices, The Mercury Centre for Innovative Materials and Manufacturing (based at Sheffield University) and the Manufacturing Technology Centre, to develop 3D printing.

Specifically, they are developing an additive manufacturing (AM) process for use in applications within the biomedical and photovoltaic (PV) sectors.

The project winners met with Business Secretary Vince Cable at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry. He said: "Investing in tomorrow's technology will bring jobs and economic growth throughout the UK.

“That's why the Government has announced the biggest ever investment in the work of the Technology Strategy Board, who will support new manufacturing techniques to maintain the UK’s position as a world leader in technology and design.”

Rob Ireson, Innovation Team Leader at Glass Technology Services, said: “Developing new technologies is crucial to advancing our understanding and capabilities in material science.

“We are very proud to be joining experts from the AM design and supply chain, to develop a novel solution for orthopaedic implants.”

The new AM process will ultimately apply interpenetrating 3D glass and metallic composite structures onto 3D surfaces.

The technology will enable the design and manufacture of implants, which will have faster integration with bone.

This will not only improve long-term clinical performance, but improve the recovery rates for patients and create savings for the health service.

The project will then translate this technology for use within a novel light sensor for the PV industry.

GTS will be responsible for developing novel glass formulations that are compatible with this AM process, and will play a key role in developing and building customised additive manufacturing equipment that can build 3D glass-metallic structures.