AMS Spring 2023

3D Printing Facility Opened at Bengaluru Airport City


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Peekay Group, a South Indian industrial outfit, has partnered with Bengaluru Airport City Limited (BACL), to open an additive manufacturing (AM) center at Bengaluru Airport City. The latter is a retail district currently under development near Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru (BLR).

BLR, one of the world’s fastest growing airports, is already the third-busiest in India, after those in Delhi in and Mumbai. Similarly, India’s AM sector is one of the fastest growing in the world: over the past year, the nation’s government has unveiled project after project revolving around the technology, across a wide range of applications and sectors.

Construction area for the Bengaluru Airport City, planned to open in 2026. Image courtesy of Bangalore Mirror

In a press release, Rao Munukutla, BACL’s CEO, commented, “This facility will act as a catalyst to help transform our airport city into a technology hub…[and] consolidate Bengaluru’s strategic position as a knowledge-based economy, and as the Silicon Valley of India.” Peekay Group’s joint managing director, KE Shanavaz, said, “…[we intend] to embark on various training programs and symposiums to nurture the enthusiasm and creativity in today’s youth by utilizing design-based reasoning as a foundation to synchronize all manufacturing processes.”

CGI rendering of Bengaluru Airport City. Image courtesy of The Indian Express

As the joint managing director of Peekay Group notes, the facility’s purpose is not just output, but education, as well. In this sense, it joins multiple other, similar AM centers that have sprung up across India over the past year or so.

Moreover, Peekay Group’s intentions to forge ties with large research institutions obviously has a lengthy precedence in the industry as a whole, and particularly, in the EU countries with the most active AM sectors. India has successfully leveraged this dynamic as well, especially in additive construction (AC) and metal AM. The deployment of that tested formula for success, at the center of a major regional commercial development project, has the potential to make a big impact in consolidating all of the progress India’s AM sector has made thus far.

As I’ve mentioned in posts prior to this one, India’s National Strategy on Additive Manufacturing (NSAM) is probably one of the starkest implied challenges to Chinese industrial supremacy from any government that’s not the US. And that is of course not accidental, considering that the US and India are now officially military allies. In this same vein, it is notable that the venture capital arm of Siemens, Siemens Project Ventures, owns a 20 percent stake in BLR airport. The more that the Sino-American cold war intensifies, the clearer it is that western powers consider South India to be indispensable, as the linchpin in creating a potential global supply route that bypasses Belt-and-Road.

Thus, beyond its tangible value in creating things and jobs, and even beyond its educational value, this sort of project — in a planned, futuristic, “airport city” — has an intangible, symbolic value. That value lies in the image of India that the Indian government, and western powers, want to broadcast to the rest of the world.

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