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New project to support SME UK health tech firms

A UK firm that sells 3D printers and materials has been selected for a University of Birmingham project aiming at bringing the latest technologies to small and medium sized health tech companies.

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Laser Lines brings over 40 years of experience in the technology manufacturing sector to the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies to Create, Activate and Automate (AMTECAA) initiative, which will run until June 2023.

The project will help develop manufacturing companies, including those in the health sector, with innovation, improvements in productivity and competitiveness by letting them access the latest technologies and expertise.

The companies involved will be assisted when it comes to creating new products as well as improving on its existing ones, with access to production line technologies helping automate proceedings.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, AMTECAA will help firms based in four areas in the Midlands, including: Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Coventry & Warwickshire, Black Country & Stoke and Staffordshire.

As a strategic partner of the project Laser Lines has already helped provide access to the UK’s first Desktop Metal Shop System, a binder jetting machine that can produce a batch of metal parts every six to ten hours.

Dr Khamis Essa, one of the academic collaborators working on the project, said: “The University has the first installation of this Desktop Metal machine in the UK.

“Since installation, we have been running demonstrator projects. The performance is incredible and the quality of the finished product is extremely high.”

Dr Milla Shah, project manager for AMTECCA, said: “We are thrilled that we will be able to help so many SME manufacturing businesses. We have a great team here at the university and we are proactively reaching out to businesses in the area that we think could benefit from this project. Any SME with a manufacturing need can get in contact.”

3D technologies like that at Laser Lines have opened up a number of new opportunities in the healthcare industry, such as the new heart treatments being investigated at the University of Minnesota.

AMTECCA is also not the first project supporting small and medium health tech companies, with a multi-million pound consortium launched at the start of this year looking to improve services in the NHS.

Other industries that Laser Lines will also support include metal additive manufacturing, robotics and automation, laser processing and hybrid manufacturing.

Paul Tickle, the firm’s metal product specialist, said: “After an extremely difficult year with the pandemic, it is great to see this initiative taking off and providing support to UK manufacturing. We are delighted to be a strategic partner, helping SMEs take the next steps in metal additive manufacturing.

“The Desktop Metal Shop system is incredibly fast, efficient and produces beautiful parts. We think it is a terrific initiative for businesses to explore how 3D printing can help in the future.”

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