Published on 11/07/2022
 Aston University 3D printing facility shortlisted for Tech Innovation Champion award
  • It is one of two Aston University projects to be nominated for this year’s awards
  • Project makes 3D printing accessible to smaller businesses 
  • The award winner will be announced at a black-tie dinner on 15 September.

Aston University’s Advanced Prototyping Facility has been shortlisted for the Tech Innovation Champion award in the prestigious Innovation Awards 2022.

The Innovation Awards recognise, celebrate and reward the businesses, organisations and individuals who are dedicated to innovation.  

It is one of two Aston University projects to be nominated this year, joining other finalist Think Beyond Data in the Tech Innovation Champion award category. 

The Advanced Prototyping Facility project encourages and supports small businesses in the West Midlands to use 3D printing, which is also called additive manufacturing. On a large scale the technique has been used within sectors as diverse as healthcare to print face shields, to aviation in producing aircraft components, to fashion to create trainer insoles. The process can make parts and products faster, cheaper, lighter and more sustainably.

Aston University’s Advanced Prototyping Facility brings this technology, which is usually only affordable to large companies, to West Midlands small to medium enterprises (SMEs). These benefit from using 3D printing in product development where it can be used to create prototypes that reduce the risk expensive tooling mistakes during the design process, as well as reducing the time to validate a design.

Aston University has been at the forefront of using 3D printing, especially with the early adopters of the technology in the medical sectors, for example in the orthopaedic field.

Professor David Webb, deputy director of the Aston Institute of Photonics Technologies (AIPT), leads the team. 
He said: “The technique is seen as the latest technological revolution in manufacturing and many small to medium enterprises have thought about using 3D printing but they don’t know where to start. 

“We set up the Advanced Prototyping Facility to address that problem and help local businesses find the right solutions for them.

“Our team of experts and academics are delighted to be shortlisted for this award, but most of all we’re delighted that we’ve been able to help improve designs and create designs for manufacture to the benefit of local businesses.”

The project is one of only five finalists shortlisted from hundreds of nominations from Technology Supply Chain members.

The project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund programme and part-funded by Aston University.

The overall winner will be announced at a black-tie awards ceremony at Millennium Point in Birmingham on Thursday 15 September, the keynote speaker is Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business.

Find out more about the Advanced Prototyping Facility by visiting The Advanced Prototyping Facility.

Photo caption (l-r): 
Top: Will Utting, Design and Additive Manufacturing Engineer; Paul Gretton, Senior Project Manager.
Bottom: Renia Gkountiou Additive Manufacturing Technician; Gosia Dzierdzikowska, Project Officer

Notes to editors
Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Saskia Loer Hansen is the interim Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7825 342091 or email n.jones6@aston.ac.uk

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Sue Smith, Head of Press and Communications
    0121 204 3521
    s.p.smith@aston.ac.uk

Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager
    0121 204 5065
    s.cook2@aston.ac.uk

Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager
    0121 204 5159
    r.hume@aston.ac.uk

Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager
    n.jones6@aston.ac.uk

Alternatively, email pr@aston.ac.uk

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