3D printing of industrial parts has been called a “utility belt” for mining engineers, with the new technology set to change the way repairs are undertaken.

The additive manufacturing process of 3-dimensional printing has already found uses in many industries. It has been employed to craft surgical implants and prosthetics, to rapidly prototype industrial designs and even print a working guitar.

 A recent expo in Mackay has highlighted possible applications on mine sites, where small sections of machines or whole replacement mechanisms could be designed and manufactured in-house. With no need to send away for components, turnaround times from breakdowns could be slashed.

Just like Batman’s utility belt, 3D printing has solutions for problems that haven’t been considered before, advocates expect it will revolutionise the way parts are manufactured and repairs are conducted.