Last year, the government of Morocco launched an Industrial Acceleration Plan, aimed at boosting the country’s economy and creating a new, modernized industrial sector. The plan, which is being implemented over the period of 2014 to 2020, is expected to create half a million industrial jobs during that time. One major part of the acceleration plan is the further development of Morocco’s aerospace industry.
As we’ve been seeing again and again lately, 3D printing is changing aerospace. The technology is dramatically reducing the time and cost involved in manufacturing metal parts for aircraft and spacecraft, as well as making them faster, safer, and more efficient. Morocco’s aerospace industry has been growing quickly in the last few years, but it still has a long way to go in terms of staying competitive. A CNN report estimated, earlier this year, that approximately 20,000 more trained personnel, mostly machinists and technicians, will be required in the next four years, and the industry will need to up its manufacturing capabilities in order to produce more complex parts.
That’s where French company Thales Group comes in. Next year, construction will begin on a new industrial competence center for metal 3D printing in Morocco. The center is expected to be fully operational by 2018, and will significantly drive Morocco’s aerospace manufacturing capabilities forward.
“This project consolidates Morocco’s position as a key industrial platform, expanding our aerospace ecosystem to include a new technology that will undoubtedly shape the future of the aerospace industry,” said Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Morocco’s Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy.
The Thales Group, which has a presence on every continent besides Antarctica, has been increasing its presence in international aerospace industries lately. Thales Alenia Space recently constructed 3D printed antenna supports for a pair of Korean satellites; the supports were the largest 3D printed parts ever made in Europe. Globally, a staggering two thirds of all aircraft that take off and land each day utilize Thales equipment. The industrial competence center in Morocco will be a point of pride not only for the country, but for Thales itself.
“This competence centre will give us access to a highly capable ecosystem of industrial suppliers specialising in mechanical parts; helping us meet all our requirements in terms of material, performance and reproducibility for the aerospace and space markets,” said Pierre Prigent, country director of Thales Morocco.
The company’s presence in Morocco will not be limited to the new competence center; Thales has been working periodically with the country’s industrial sector for the last ten years. The new project is only one of three partnerships with Moroccan authorities to further drive production and help to implement the Industrial Acceleration Plan over the remainder of the decade. Discuss this article in the Thales Group forum thread on 3DPB.com.