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Engineering Innovation Champion of the Year - WINNER

  • Project makes 3D printing accessible to smaller businesses 
  • Aston University is at the forefront of using 3D printing
  • Winner announced at a black-tie dinner at Edgbaston Cricket Ground.

Aston University’s Advanced Prototyping Facility has won 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.  

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 for printing face shields, aviation in producing aircraft components, to fashion for creating 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-sized enterprises (SMEs). They benefit from using 3D printing in product development to create prototypes that reduce the risk of 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 early adopters of the technology in the medical sectors, for example, in the orthopaedic field.

Professor David Webb of Aston Institute of Photonics Technologies (AIPT) leads the team, supported by Paul Gretton, senior project manager who runs the Advanced Prototyping Facility project.

He said: “We are absolutely delighted to win this prestigious award.

“It is great that our work helping local businesses take advantage of advanced technology has been recognised.
“The team has worked hard to support some of the region’s small companies, and we will be helping more in the future.”  

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

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

The winners were announced at a black-tie awards ceremony at Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham on Friday 16 September. 

Photo caption (l-r): 
Lisa Brown - Research Finance Accountancy Assistant, David Webb - Director of ASTUTE, APF Director, Renia Gkountiou - Additive Manufacturing Technician, Gosia Dzierdzikowska - Project Officer, Amaan Khan – Placement Student, Will Utting - Design and Additive Manufacturing Engineer

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