Page updated 10.4.2019

TUAS is granted funding of almost a million euros for the Multicomponent Materials Centre of Expertise for Additive Manufacturing

The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture has granted Turku University of Applied Sciences EUR 960 000 as strategic profilation funding for research, development and innovation activities (RDI). The Ministry granted altogether 5 million euros of profilation funding to universities of applied sciences.

TUAS was granted funding for the Multicomponent Materials Centre of Expertise for Additive Manufacturing. The Centre combines TUAS’ expertise in industrial manufacturing, biomaterials, design and dental technology with the UTU Institute of Dentistry and the Pharmaceutical Technology laboratory at Åbo Akademi University. 

“The Centre of Expertise enables extensive cooperation between the fields and the supporting research and development infrastructure. As a result, new solutions are created in the field of additive manufacturing. A concrete goal is to develop 3D printing and 3D design to correspond to the increasing needs of the fields of technology industry and chemical industry. We take into account both the additive manufacturing of metals, ceramics and resin composites and the printing of biomaterials and medicines”, says Juhani Soini, the Vice President of TUAS.

The design engineer education to respond to the needs of additive manufacturing

“Additive manufacturing will radically change product design. The traditional subtractive manufacturing methods, such as turnery and milling, have for long set the framework for a designer’s freedom and creativity. Additive manufacturing enables, for example, structures which model the shapes in nature, where durability, hardness and viscosity are designed exactly where they are needed. This renders objects lighter than before, and especially the manufacturing costs of complex parts can be reduced”, describes Ari Putkonen, Head of Education and Research at TUAS.

In mechanical engineering and design, design competence which utilizes 3D software has been invested in. Nowadays the software include properties, which support additive manufacturing. The goal of TUAS is to study the design process with different software and combine the ability of the optimizing methods they use to produce the desired products. This means research and a series of practical tests with different materials and printers in cooperation with the partner companies. Software supplier IdealPLM and 3DTech, specialized in 3D printing, have already expressed interest in the design competence yielded as a result of the research. 

“The design engineering programme started at Turku University of Applied Sciences responds to the new design challenges and opportunities of additive manufacturing”, say Tarmo Karhu, Leader, Education and Research in design and Jussi Liikkanen, Degree Programme Leader in Product Development.

Multicomponent materials for medical applications

“Additive manufacturing has opened new opportunities to combine very different components in the same material. Suitable combinations of synthetic materials, such as polymers and ceramics, which also include living cells, biomolecules or medical molecules, enable the development of personallized therapeutic preparations”, says Mika Jokinen, Principal Lecturer in Chemical and Materials Engineering and Leader of the New Materials and Processes research group, which focuses on multicomponent materials and medical biomaterials.

The New Materials and Processes research group focuses in particular on developing new solutions for low-temperature 3D printing and multicomponent printing. The research group cooperates with Turku Clinical Biomaterials Centre, Åbo Akademi Pharmaceutical Sciences Laboratory and companies.

“In Turku we have a lot of teaching in biomaterials at Åbo Akademi University, the University of Turku and Turku University of Applied Sciences. With this project, we have an excellent opportunity to develop the jointly offered courses of the higher education institutions in the field of biomaterials and materials engineering”, says Anne Norström, Head of Education and Research in Chemical and Materials Engineering at TUAS.

Research and education in dental technology to a new level

Of the manufacturing methods of dental bridges, crowns and dentures, the method developing fastest is 3D printing. The degree programme in Dental Technology at TUAS is particularly interested in the 3D printing of ceramics materials and continuous fibre together with plastic materials used in dentistry. Optimizing the mechanical properties of these materials for the conditions in the mouth requires careful design and mastery of the manufacturing technique. In close cooperation with the UTU Institute of Dentistry and Turku Clinical Biomaterials Centre, the new Centre will develop manufacturing methods to meet the needs of dentistry and the biomaterials industry.

“This will be a great cooperation project, which increases the cooperation of TUAS and the University of Turku in the field of dental technology. In addition to strengthening biomaterials research and the operations of biomaterials companies, it raises the research and education in dental technology to a new level internationally”, rejoice Pasi Alander, Senior Lecturer in Dental Technology at TUAS and Professor Pekka Vallittu, Dean of the Institute of Dentistry at the University of Turku.

Several companies involved in the operations

“We believe that the Centre will strengthen and boost the existing regional cooperation and innovations and research”, says Tomi Kalpio, Chief Development Officer at 3DTech. 

“The task of universities of applied sciences is to conduct applied research, development and innovation activities which promote working life and regional development, and renew the economic structure of the region. This development should be invested in”, Vice Rector Juhani Soini emphasizes. 

Cooperation partners in the project include Vice Rector Niklas Sandler and Professor Jessica Rosenholm from Åbo Akademi University, Professor Pekka Vallittu from the University of Turku and Professor Antti Salminen from LUT University. Several companies operating in the region are also involved in the cooperation.