3D printing has impacted innovation on nearly every level; however, some industries are undeniably defined as more important—and especially when they affect worldwide defense, aerospace applications, and security. Operating in over 40 countries, you may be surprised to learn what a dynamic force BAE Systems has already been in 3D printing—from opening additive manufacturing facilities to creating partnerships to involvement in hybrid 3D printing projects. Now, as they announce radical design and production changes, suppliers must begin to adjust—not only to innovation in design but increased reliance on robotics for production.
BAE will be manufacturing 30 percent of its Tempest fighter jet parts via 3D printing, with yet another facility opening in Warton, Lancashire. This new “first-of-its-kind” smart factory will also see Tempest parts being assembled by robots on the assembly line. Along with advanced automation, engineers at the new facility will employ virtual and augmented reality in creating combat aircraft.
As the worldwide economy has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, industrial leaders must seek more affordable methods of production. Relying further on the benefits of additive manufacturing, BAE Systems is able to save on the bottom line, as well as cutting time in production by half; in fact, for one rear fuselage part, BAE has gone from taking two years for manufacturing to two months. Enjoying another of the greatest advantages with 3D printing too, BAE now has the option of 3D printing more components in-house rather than sending them to a middleman for production.
While the company may be increasing its usage of 3D printing now, like a handful of other organizations and companies, BAE has actually been using the technology for 20 years. Beginning with rapid prototyping (the initial, intended use for 3D printers in aiding engineers), the BAE team has evolved into 3D printing standard, functional parts for aircraft like the Typhoon. Working with both Renishaw and Stratasys, new doors have opened up offering access to even greater AM resources—allowing BAE to strengthen its presence within the industry through revolutionizing research, design, development, and actual production of aircraft systems.
[Source / Images: New Atlas]
“Driving our manufacturing capabilities forward as we prepare for the fourth industrial revolution will sustain and develop critical skillsets and ensure we can continue to deliver military capability to address future threats, whilst improving productivity and delivering value for money for our customers,” said BAE Systems Air Manufacturing Director Dave Holmes, upon the opening of the new smart factory.
You May Also Like
Meltio Engine Jumps over the Limits of Metal 3D Printing by Enabling Hybrid Fabrication
MELTIO has officially presented today the new version of the MELTIO Engine, a fabrication module which enables 3D printing of full density metal parts when integrated with CNC machines, robots,...
3D Printing for Preppers: The Virtual Foundry’s Metal 3D Printing Filament
Foreshadowing the expansion of bound metal printing by several years, Bradley Woods developed the idea of metal 3D printing filaments in 2014 when he obtained his first 3D printer kit....
Additive Manufacturing 2.0: The future of metal manufacturing starts now
It’s increasingly clear: The way we make things is changing. As more companies realize the advantages that come with additive manufacturing – like tooling-free manufacturing, ability to create highly complex...
3D Printing Financials: Revenue Up in First Nine Months of 2020 for SLM Solutions; Q3 Earnings Down
For the third quarter that ended September 30, German metal 3D printer manufacturer SLM Solutions reported revenues decreased by 13% to €14.8 million compared to last year’s €17 million. Along...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.