Dubai lab to produce 3D printed drones, spares?

Work at full tilt at MBR Solar Plant's R&D Centre

DUBAI 24 July 2017: Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) is setting up an Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) lab, built with 3D-printing technology. The utilities major is studying the possibility of using 3D-printing technology in the development of spare parts.

The UAV lab will come up at the Research & Development (R&D) Centre at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, in Seih Al Dahal, Dubai. Work on the centre is at full tilt.

During a field visit, Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Dewa MD & CEO, was briefed on the progress of the R&D Centre by representatives from Stantec International, the consulting company responsible for design and construction of the centre, as well as representatives from Reem Capital Contracting (RCC). Senior Dewa officials accompanied Al Tayer included Abdullah Obaidullah, Executive Vice President of Water & Civil; Jamal Shaheen Al Hammadi, Vice President of Special Projects; and Mohammed Al Shamsi, Vice President of Civil Projects Engineering & Water Maintenance.

MBR Solar Park const

The R&D Centre was launched in 2014, and will focus on four key operations. These include producing electricity using solar energy, integration of smart grids, energy efficiency, and water. Dh500 million is being dedicated towards R&D and the Centre will be ready in 2020. The R&D Centre infrastructure includes indoor laboratories, to study and test the reliability of systems. The outdoor laboratories will conduct field tests of techniques and tools, which include studies on mitigating the effects of dust on the performance of solar panels. This is part of Dewa’s efforts to promote the production of clean energy, and reduce operating costs.

3D Printing

The Centre includes an Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) lab, built with 3D-printing technology. Dewa is studying the possibility of using 3D-printing technology in the development of spare parts, to improve the performance of UAVs, based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the maintenance and operations in its work.

Dewa is also studying the possibility of utilising this technology, to promote innovation and creativity, in cooperation with prestigious research centres and universities around the world.

mbr solar park meet

Through its R&D initiatives, Dewa is utilising 3D printing and additive manufacturing, as innovative solutions for its internal printing operations for non-metallic spare parts for equipment. This eliminated the lead time for procurement, reduce costs, extends the lifetime of the equipment, and enhances innovation at Dewa.

Dewa is currently working on capacity building in 3D printing, by collaborating with leading organisations, such as General Electric (GE). Dewa is also studying 3D printing applications in utilities.

Dewa has signed agreements with several national entities, institutions, and companies, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the US Department of Energy, and the Spanish National Renewable Energy Centre (CENER) in R&D, and the latest developments in the fields of energy, water and the environment. DEWA is also collaborating with the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), and Khalifa University, in the field of joint research and studies in renewable energy.

By Rajive Singh