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BAE Systems and Renishaw, partners to develop aerospace additive manufacturing

BAE Systems, an English aerospace and defense specialist, has just signed a memorandum of understanding with manufacturer Renishaw to design the finished parts for its combat aircraft. The ultimate goal is to improve the entire production process, taking care to reduce lead times and increase the quality of components. An agreement which is part of a logic of industrialization of 3D technologies, proof that certain markets seek to integrate them as a production process in their own right.

Aeronautics is one of the first sectors to have used additive manufacturing, notably metal 3D printing, whether to produce prototypes, spare parts, or even finished parts: we are talking here about 3D printed turbines , engine parts or airplane seats. It must be said that 3D technologies allow us to rethink the very design of the parts, making them more complex but above all lighter. Research and Markets had predicted an annual growth of 23.01% between 2017 and 2021. BAE Systems has been interested in this technology for twenty years already: in 2016, the English company had printed in 3D over 2,500 pieces. In particular, it has integrated 3D printed components into the Typhoon fighter aircraft and has used different solutions like those of Stratasys since 2006.

Additive manufacturing enabled BAE Systems to design the Typhoon fighter plane (photo credits: BAE Systems)

BAE Systems and Renishaw, a long-standing partnership

The two new partners will therefore put their respective expertise to good use. The protocol aims to maximize the application of additive manufacturing in the aerospace and defense sectors and opens up possibilities for joint research and development. Andy Schofield, director of manufacturing and materials strategy and technology at BAE Systems, explains: “Additive manufacturing has brought and will continue to bring significant benefits to our industry. Renishaw is a world market leader and we have been impressed by the quality of the parts produced on its machines. This agreement allows us to create a more open and collaborative environment for sharing ideas and knowledge. In an environment where technology evolves rapidly and budgets are difficult, collaboration and innovation are absolutely essential to maintain peak capacity. I am very excited about the potential of this partnership to help us get there. ”

BAE Systems has therefore invested in several Renishaw 3D printers which are located in its product and process development center in Samlesbury, Lancashire. The 1,000 square foot space includes several advanced technologies that allow it to imagine and design more efficient combat aircraft. When signing the memorandum of understanding with BAE Systems, Will Lee, managing director of Renishaw, said: ” We already have excellent relationships with BAE Systems, developed over many years thanks to the application of our metrology products, and we have more recently worked with them to assess and understand the performance envelope of our additive manufacturing systems. We look forward to the exciting opportunities this strategic collaboration offers to further develop 3D technologies for demanding aerospace production applications. “

Renishaw is an expert in metal additive manufacturing

You can find more information on the BAE Systems website.

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