University's Mercury Centre and commercial partners start £8.4m project to take 3D printing to the next level

The University of Sheffield's Mercury Centre is part of a new £8.4 million Government-funded research programme, which will see the development of an innovative new additive manufacturing process.

Mercury Centre staff demonstrate 3D printing technology to industry visitorAdditive manufacturing (AM) is more commonly known as 3D printing, and this project partners the Mercury Centre with JRI Orthopaedics, GTS, 3T PRD, Delta T Devices and The Manufacturing Technology Centre to develop new AM processes for use in applications within the biomedical and photovoltaic sectors.

The group will focus on research and development to create a new AM process able to apply glass and metals onto 3D structures. This would enable the design and manufacture of implants to improve clinical performance and recovery rates for patients, plus create savings for the National Health Service.

The project is funded by Innovate UK and led by JRI Orthopaedics as part of the ‘Inspiring new design freedoms in additive manufacturing’ initiative. This programme aims to support the development of new manufacturing techniques, advancing understanding and capabilities in materials science.

The Mercury Centre, based within the University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, was established in response to the global developments in advanced manufacturing and a demand for more sophisticated products made with radically improved resource efficiency.

The centre provides an opportunity for industry collaboration, with a unique combination of expertise in the area of innovative materials and manufacturing, and housing a suite of cutting edge advanced manufacturing equipment. Its range of capabilities includes 3D printing, functional coatings, surface treatment, the manufacture of components and advanced materials characterisation.

Dr Martin Highett, Centre Manager at the Mercury Centre, said: "We are delighted to be collaborating with JRI Orthopaedics and Glass Technology Services Ltd on this project, research into the performance of innovative manufacturing techniques that delivers benefits to industry while furthering our knowledge and understanding of materials is at the heart of what we do at the Mercury Centre."

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering is hosting an Industry Open Day on the 24 March 2015 from 10.30am-3pm, introducing guests from industry to some of the Department’s research activities including the work of The Mercury Centre, and giving visitors the opportunity to view the facilities, speak with research staff and to attend short research briefings.

To attend the Industry Open Day, please contact Business Innovation Manager Dr Neil Lowrie on 0114 222 5506 or, or register online at:

Additional information

The Mercury Centre

Established in 2010, The Mercury Centre is an innovative materials and manufacturing research centre, part financed by the European Development Fund, that aims to support the Yorkshire and Humber region's economic development by enabling industry to secure a globally leading position through faster time to market for new sectors.

For more information visit: or contact Dr Martin Highett on or 0114 222 5981.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering was formed in 1987 and is housed in the Sir Robert Hadfield Building. It has since flourished to become one of the largest centres for materials research in the UK, providing a focus for research innovation and collaboration.

University of Sheffield

With almost 26,000 of the brightest students from around 120 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

In 2014 it was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education and in the last decade has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

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For further information please contact:

Hannah Postles
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 1046