Visits to Grain Pro & MIRDC

The final two visits of my trip here in the Philippines concluded with the Metal Industry Research & Development Centre (MIRDC) in Taguig City and  Grain Pro Inc, Subic Bay. The purpose of the MIRDC visit was  in relation to the joint proposal by the MIRDC, IRRI, Phil Rice, Phil Mech and Omnifab on funding for a metal 3D printer. The proposal also consisted of partners from the medical industry and military.

Metal gears machined by the MIRDC

The funding worth upwards of  $1 million US dollars, would see a metal 3D printer based at the MIRDC for use by various industries across the Philippines. Training programs and capacity building were also top of the agenda if the proposal was to pass. Now, where do I come into all this? The NUIG/IRRI project I’ve been undertaking here in the Philippines has been focused on the agriculture sector with feedback from research institutes, workshops, fabricators and part suppliers. The idea was to get opinions on the potential use of a metal 3D printing service here in the Philippines. How would it benefit a workshop owner? Would it reduce waiting time for new parts? Would it speed up fabrication and make prototyping easier? These are some of the key points we spoke about. Something at Grain Pro also caught my eye at the MIRDC..We had a look at a 3D scanner they recently purchased. $60,000 US Dollars was the price tag!! Expensive but an impressive piece of technology. Hopefully in the near future we’ll see many more of these.

Grain Pro are world leaders in safe storage systems and drying of seeds post harvest. Based in the USA and founded in 1992, their Philippine office in the scenic Subic Bay was impressive to say the least. Everything from Solar Bubble Dryers, cocoons and grain bags Grain Pro have it. One technical advantage Grain Pro have is the ability to design storage systems with low oxygen & high carbon dioxide environments which obliterates foreign bodies such as bugs, insects and bacteria. This offers customers safer storage and reduced risk of aflatoxins over longer periods. Post harvest is one area where most yield losses occur and the work Grain Pro are doing will help ensure future food supplies.

We also spoke about 3D printing with Grain Pro. Interestingly, having considered their line of work I thought 3D printing would be no advantage to Grain Pro. Large storage units and plastic bags couldn’t benefit from 3D printing technology right? However, their recently designed cocoons need a new zipping mechanism and 3D printing is ideal for this. They mentioned how it took considerable time for a local workshop to make a mold for this. Time is limited but maybe I can re design one and get it printed for Grain Pro before my journey ends here in the Philippines!


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