Premium AEROTEC Partnering with Lockheed Martin to Search for 3D Printing Opportunities on the F-35

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The Paris Air Show ended over a week ago, but event news from the 3D printing industry continues to fly in as we hear about more investment and partnership announcements. The latest is a new partnership between Premium AEROTEC and Lockheed Martin – the two companies signed an agreement at the air show, and will now begin collaborating together on additive manufacturing.

“We are excited to work with Lockheed Martin. This collaboration is a first step for our company into the important US defense market,” said Premium AEROTEC CEO Thomas Ehm. “Furthermore it’s a great opportunity to demonstrate the advantages of Premium AEROTEC’s leading edge 3D-printing products and processes in combination with state of the art combat aircraft technology.”

German aviation technology company Premium AEROTEC, which employs around 10,000 people and acquired metal 3D printing expert APWORKS last summer, mainly works to design and build aircraft structures out of carbon fiber composite and metal materials. But, the global company – actually an Airbus subsidiary – was the first component manufacturer in the world to supply 3D printed components that were made out of titanium alloys for serial aircraft production, which helped lower costs and material usage for its parent company.

Now, Premium AEROTEC will be working with Maryland-based aerospace and security company Lockheed Martin, which is also a major adopter of 3D printing in the aerospace industry, to look into opportunities in which it can implement its 3D printing technology into the DoD’s F-35 Lightning II Program, which is also known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program.

[Image: Premium AEROTEC]

“We see tremendous opportunity for additive manufacturing to further reduce costs, enhance quality and improve speed across the F-35 enterprise. F-35 production includes the most advanced manufacturing techniques of any fighter jet in the world and partnering with companies like Premium AEROTEC, we will continue to integrate additional automation and additive manufacturing techniques that will ensure we’re always delivering on our cost, quality and efficiency goals,” said Greg Ulmer, the Vice President of Lockheed Martin and General Manager of the F-35 program.

The F-35 features advanced sensors, stealth technology, superior range, supersonic speed, and weapons capacity, all of which combine to make it, according to a Premium AEROTEC press release, “the most lethal, survivable, and connected aircraft in the world.” The aircraft is so much more than just a fighter jet – it has the ability to collect, analyze, and then share data. A “powerful force multiplier,” the F-35 allows the brave members of our military to successfully complete their missions and get back home.

[Image: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program]

Together, Premium AEROTEC and Lockheed Martin will be working to search for candidate parts in the F-35 that could potentially be fabricated through the use of additive, rather than subtractive, manufacturing processes. As the aircraft nears full rate production, the goal of this collaboration is to continue to lower costs, and improve efficiencies, in order to sustain the operation F-35 fleet.

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