Gyroplane frame body with topology-optimization. [Image: NIK Ltd.]

The worldwide aerospace industry has been taking off in terms of its adoption of 3D printing – the technology can be used to make aircraft components more repeatable, and lightweight, which is good when you’re flying at 30,000 feet. FIT AG, a German provider of rapid prototyping and additive design and manufacturing (ADM) services, has been increasing its investment in 3D printing, opening new facilities, beginning new partnerships, and launching subsidiaries in the US and Romania. In late 2017, FIT AG set its sights on leveraging 3D printing for the aerospace and aviation industries.

In November, the company announced that it was working with research and engineering company NIK Ltd., established in Russia in 1997, to open up the country’s market for additive manufacturing. FIT and NIK started a new joint venture company, dubbed FITNIK, which combines the best of what both companies offer.

Right on schedule, the German-Russian FITNIK joint venture took flight last month, launching operations in the strategic location of Zhukovsky, where NIK is headquartered; the city, not far from Moscow, is also an important aircraft R&D center.

“This joint venture is the key to ensure a robust manufacturing process occurs over the entire supply chain, notably including additive design and additive manufacturing,” stated Alexander Korneev, CEO at FITNIK Ltd. “Our goal is to create truly comprehensive services for the aerospace and aviation industries; making optimum use of the disruptive additive manufacturing technologies entering into the new generation of products.”

L-R: Leonid Chernyshev, Head of Research and Production Complex TsAGI; Igor Kovalev, Deputy General Director of TsAGI for Complex Research for Special Purpose Projects; Vadim Khromov, 1st Deputy Minister of Investments and Innovations; Carl Fruth, CEO FIT AG; Alexander Korneev, CEO FITNIK Ltd.; Viktor Rekimchuk, Sales Manager Russia; Stanislav Mironov, Liaison Engineer FIT/FITNIK.

This cooperation between specialists FIT and NIK is the result of the two being united in one common goal – opening the Russian market up for additive manufacturing technology. NIK’s role is very important to the joint venture, as it is the local partner for market entry. The consulting firm is highly active in both the Russian and international aerospace markets, counting the Boeing Corporation and the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) as two of its customers.

FIT will be providing its expert ADM services, and, according to a news release, plans to “leverage NIK’s expertise in aircraft engineering to expand its scope of additive manufacturing technologies services.”

“FITNIK embodies a unique synergy. With FITNIK, we will have an incredible opportunity to quickly access numerous target markets in Russia,” said Carl Fruth, Founder and CEO of the FIT Group. “At the same time, this joint venture will allow us to provide a new level of experienced additive engineering to our international customers – at very competitive prices. This is a big step for additive manufacturing industries.”

A secondary goal of the German-Russian FITNIK joint venture is establishing a center for the purposes of additive design, research, testing, production, and training. FITNIK has begun the process of establishing its Zhukovsky operations by recruiting in the country for design and engineering staff.

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[Images: FIT AG]


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