AMS Spring 2023

UK’s Largest Rocket Engine Factory Opens with World’s Largest Hybrid Metal 3D Printer


Share this Article

Skyrora Ltd’s new manufacturing headquarters has just opened, officially making the Scottish company the operator of the UK’s largest jet engine factory. Skyrora is already the owner of the largest hybrid metal 3D printer in Europe.

Based in Edinburgh, Skyrora’s new production facility, called the Skyrora Vehicle Assembly Building, is located in North Lanarkshire (suburban Glasgow). The building itself contains a total of 55,000 square feet of factory floor and office space, with an adjoining 67,000 square foot yard, used for launch rehearsals. According to Skyrora, this makes the facility capable of producing as many as 16 of its XL launch vehicles annually. The XL is Skyrora’s latest prototype, one version of which has already been tested successfully.

In a press release, Skyrora’s CEO and founder, Volodymyr Levykin, commented, “This isn’t just about offering different locations for launch, but everything that precedes that moment. Being able to offer end-to-end domestic capabilities from development, manufacturing, testing, and launch provides the UK with a crucial advantage as it looks to unlock its capabilities and deliver on its potential on the global stage.” Ian Arnett, the UK Space Agency’s deputy chief executive, said, “As we approach the UK’s first commercial space launch this summer, Skyrora’s new manufacturing and production facility in Cumbernauld will further enhance the UK’s reputation as Europe’s most attractive destination for launch activities.”

Arnett also pointed out that one-fifth of the UK’s space workers are in Scotland, which is notable considering the country contains only one-twelfth of the UK’s total population. Skyrora is expected to conduct the first launch in the history of the new SaxaVord Spaceport some time later this year. The spaceport is located in Unst, the most northerly part of the Shetland Islands, themselves the most northerly part of the UK. The territory’s strategic location likely does much to explain the UK’s apparent emergence as a new hub for commercial space.

The Skyprint 2, the aforementioned “largest hybrid metal 3D printer in Europe”, is a DED machine capable of producing parts via both additive and subtractive processes. This allows operators to use the Skyprint 2 to repair parts that weren’t originally printed. The machine is responsible for producing components for the XL’s 70kN engine, which is the most powerful commercially-produced liquid engine on the UK market.

Although much attention is rightfully paid to the use of AM in the American and Chinese space sectors, it is also striking the extent to which the latest phase in the European Space Agency’s evolution has been dependent on AM. The progress being made in the UK, in particular, suggests the trajectory and makeup of new global supply chains to be formed over the next decade. In an interesting mashup of the past and the future, critical emerging technologies (CETs) could once again make the northern transatlantic the central node in international trade.

Images courtesy of Skyrora

Share this Article

Recent News

Startup to 3D Print Data Centers Using $7M in Funding

All-Female Vehicle Builds and International Trade Anchor Women in 3D Printing Conference in Dreams and Reality


3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns

You May Also Like

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: January 22, 2023

For this weekend’s roundup, the TIPE 3D Printing Conference kicks things off with its third iteration on Tuesday, and ASTM International will hold an AM construction workshop. There will also...


Learn About 3D Printing at Wi3DP’s Third TIPE Conference

After a year in which many businesses learned to navigate new challenges and risks, 2022 taught many in the 3D printing industry how to better prepare for the future. With...


Digitalization and Additive Manufacturing: Leveraging the Real and Digital Worlds

Additive Manufacturing, or industrial 3D printing, has evolved from prototyping with basic materials and equipment to producing low tolerance components with limited use to additive manufacturing as we know it...

AMS to Bring Unique Networking to 3D Printing Community in NYC

Thanks to the contributions of our sponsors and participants, Additive Manufacturing Strategies (AMS) 2023 will feature some truly fun and novel networking activities in New York, February 7 – 9,...