Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen, Centexbel and KULAK, both in Kortrijk, and TUA West have entered into a cross-border partnership in the field of 3D printing of (biobased) materials. This project involves €3 million, €1.3 million of which is provided by a subsidy from the Interreg program between Flanders and the Netherlands.
As part of the project, Brightlands Chemelot Campus and Centexbel will purchase 3D printers, and so-called characterization equipment will be installed at KULAK. The principle aim of the project is to connect business clusters and to provide third parties, including SMEs, with the equipment and the production and materials knowledge developed in the process.
The project will also focus on optimizing the 3D printing process of materials for different applications. Most of the printing will involve plastics of biobased origins, for example polylactic acid (PLA). One of the topics the researchers are interested in looking at is the characteristics of the interface phenomena between the layers applied using a 3D printer.
European resources for Limburg
The total scope of the project amounts to €3 million, €1.25 million of which is being invested in Brightlands Chemelot Campus.
Brightlands Chemelot Campus will receive €620,000 of the €1.3 million subsidy from the Interreg program between Flanders and the Netherlands which has been granted to this 3D printing project. Subsidies of this kind are granted by the European Commission to cross-border projects. Twan Beurskens, Economy and Knowledge Infrastructure member of the Limburg Provincial Executive, says: “The province has set itself the target of, on the one hand, attracting more European resources for the development of the Limburg economy and, on the other hand, making knowledge available from the campuses for our small and medium-sized enterprises to enable them to take the next step in their development. I am pleased that this has worked out with this 3D printing project. In addition, this project fits in perfectly with other initiatives on the campus relating to 3D printing.”
The Interreg subsidy has a term of three years, during which TUA West will act as the lead agency on behalf of the Province of West Flanders.