IfM project will define research agenda for 3D printing-enabled re-distributed manufacturing

The Bit by Bit research team has launched a new two-year project titled: Defining the research agenda for 3D printing-enabled re-distributed manufacturing (3DP-RDM). The aim is to explore the interrelationships between 3D printing/additive manufacturing and re-distributed manufacturing.

The 3DP-RDM project is part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's (EPSRC) “Manufacturing the Future” theme and is being funded through the joint invitation for proposals “Re-distributed Manufacturing - Call for Networks“ with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The project is led by Dr Tim Minshall, Principal Investigator, and by Professor Phill Dickens at the University of Nottingham, Co-Investigator, supported by Dr Simon Ford in a Network Coordinator role.


The objective of 3DP-RDM is to convene a multi-disciplinary research and multi-industry user network that provides the required breadth and depth of research capabilities to define and disseminate the research agenda for 3DP-enabled re-distributed manufacturing. The formation of this community will provide a platform for the delivery of a portfolio of up to six research feasibility studies to explore:

  • The features of 3DP technologies that help enable re-distributed manufacturing;
    How re-distributed manufacturing may accelerate the diffusion of 3DP technologies, and vice-versa;
  • Sector specific and generic aspects of 3DP enabled re-distributed manufacturing;
  • The network launched at the beginning of this year with a scoping workshop where a group of academics and industrialists explored what research topics should be conducted through feasibility studies in the first year of the network.

Informed by these workshop outputs, 34 proposals were received during a feasibility study competition, four of which have been selected for funding following a rigorous review process:

  • Investigating the Impact of CAD Data Transfer Standards for 3DP-RDM – Dr Eujin Pei, Brunel University Optimos Prime: Organising Production Technology
  • Into Most Responsive States – 3D Print Machine Enabled Networks – Professor Duncan McFarlane, University of Cambridge, and Edinburgh University
  • The enabling role of 3DP in redistributed manufacturing: A total cost model – Dr Martin Baumers, University of Nottingham, and University of Oxford
  • Redistributing Material Supply Chains for 3D printing – Dr Matthias Holweg, University of Oxford

The successful proposals will be conducted during 2015, with the results shared at an event in January 2016.


For more information about the network, visit the project's blog or contact Dr Simon Ford.

Date published

17 April 2015

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