FIT and Turkish Aerospace Partner to Advance 3D Printing for Aerospace Parts

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Germany’s 3D printing service provider FIT Additive Manufacturing Group, and Ankara-based company Turkish Aerospace signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to advance 3D printing technology and products. The business partnership will provide the basis to optimize the design and manufacturing processes of innovative structural parts for aircraft, drones, and satellites that cannot be produced through conventional manufacturing techniques. As a result, the two companies will have access to more high-quality components and spare parts while keeping costs down.

Through this new collaboration, FIT and Turkish Aerospace will actively cooperate in their headquarters in Lupburg and Ankara, respectively, on topics like certification, manufacturing, and development of new additive manufacturing (AM) technologies. The list of research priorities includes technology development, evaluation of AM processes, engineering proficiency, and qualification of materials. The agreement signed on April 22, 2021, by FIT Founder and CEO Carl Fruth and Turkish Aerospace President and CEO Temel Kotil, seal a deal that promises to quickly implement high-tech part production for the aerospace sector.

For Fruth, the partnership will allow FIT to increase its expertise in aerospace. While Kotil added that since both companies have been working together on joint projects for years, it is “a privilege” to develop and create a cooperation with FIT. Kotil also suggested that the firm is committed to ensuring customers can access the complete manufacturing process chain using additive technologies within global standards.

Star tracker bracket as example of successful cooperation in the past. Image courtesy of FIT AG/Lisa Kirk.

Following up on previous joint projects, this international cooperation agreement will further unite the two companies’ ambitious intention to expand R&D efforts for rapid development of aerospace technologies. Turkish Aerospace has extensive experience in aerospace manufacturing, while FIT will contribute its know-how of AM and additive design. Also part of the project is FIT’s subsidiary FIT Production, an ISO-9100 certified company for aerospace that specializes in additively manufacturing parts and tools and ambitiously works on further certifications to establish itself as an important partner in the sector.

Previously, FIT and Turkish Aerospace had developed a new type of mechanical component for next-generation satellite platforms and continue to be active partners in European Union (EU)-funded research programs, including a collaborating on microsatellites. Additionally, FIT provides machine capabiliites to doctoral students at Gazi University’s Additive Manufacturing Technologies Application and Research Center (EKTAM) in Turkey, who recently received a 2.39 million award by the EU’s Contribution Fund to Scholarship Programs (COFUND) to study advanced materials and manufacturing technologies.

FIT Additive Manufacturing Group at its headquarters in Lupburg, Germany. Image courtesy of FIT via Facebook.

The aerospace and aviation industry has been one of the biggest adopters of 3D printing technologies. Additively manufactured complex geometries for engine or turbine parts are typical examples of what the technology can do to disrupt an industry while boosting efficiency and saving money. Moreover, industrial 3D printing can do a lot to reduce the overall weight of components, resulting in competitive advantages such as lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions and higher performance in terms of flight duration and payload.

Turkish Aerospace develops the Anka, a family of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for the Turkish Armed Forces. Image courtesy of Turkish Aerospace.

In a social media post following the MoU signing, FIT announced, “aviation and aerospace are definitely among the most bustling industries at present for AM. Striving to expand our competencies in this area, we are very excited to announce that we signed a memory of understanding with Turkish Aerospace. Acknowledged experts in our respective fields, we intend to work together in research and development to complete advanced 3D printing technology and products leveraging our respective strengths.”

As one of the pioneering industrial partners for AM, FIT focused on developing and manufacturing prototypes, production aids, 3D printed spare parts, or additively manufactured final components for a wide range of customers for 25 years. From product design to construction and manufacturing to post-processing, the AM experts offer the entire 3D printing value-added chain to its customers. To meet the growing demand in the market for high-quality products, FIT has seriously invested in 3D printing systems and materials for its headquarters in the Bavarian city of Lupburg. The business has also expanded its joint ventures in other countries to open up more additive manufacturing markets, such as in Russia, Romania, Italy, Japan, and the Czech Republic.

Turkish Aerospace has lately begun to use 3D printing technologies for parts and products. For example, the company produced and qualified satellite structures using 3D printing technology, adding a new production model to its indigenous aviation and space ecosystem. The new cooperation with FIT could expand the firm’s use of 3D printing into new structures, opening further opportunities for more complex part creation and faster production times.

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