Italian Defense Leader Leonardo Taps BEAMIT for 3D Printed Aircraft Parts

Metal AM Markets
AMR Military

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Italy’s BEAMIT Group was among the first to establish itself as a premier service bureau for high-end 3D printing applications, leading to large investments from Swedish engineering giant Sandvik. Now, the company has further demonstrated its capability in the space by signing a five-year contract with Italian defense firm Leonardo (BIT: LDO).

The contract comes after what has already been five years of collaboration that started in 2017. Together, the two firms developed and qualified BEAMIT’s additive manufacturing (AM) process and defined the steps necessary for standardization. This led to over 100 parts being qualified and installed on key Leonardo aircraft, including M345, M346, and C27J. The new contract with BEAMIT will see the Italian service bureau qualify further components for the military contractor.

A BEAMIT facility. Image courtesy of BEAMIT.

BEAMIT has been steadily building up its success in the industry, most recently adding further GE Concept Laser machines to its fleet and collaborating with GE to develop automated post-processing technology. However, BEAMIT is not the only AM supplier for Leonardo.

Since then, Desktop Metal’s Aidro subsidiary was qualified in 2022 to supply 3D printed hydraulic and fluid power systems to Leonardo’s helicopter division. The world’s eighth largest defense company also uses polymer powder bed fusion for product development. Leonardo has also relied on directed energy deposition from Norsk Titanium in the past. There are also all of the AM projects that Leonardo subsidiary Alenia has worked on, including those with Thales Alenia Space.

In 2022, Italy’s then-Prime Minister Mario Draghi floated the idea of an oil consumer cartel in order to help lower the cost of fuel in Europe. In lieu of such a concept, which could prove difficult with new oil wells increasingly difficult to unearth, key elements of Italy’s economy, like Leonardo, may need to work to reduce the cost of fuel internally by making equipment more fuel efficient. By leveraging AM, Leonardo, which is 30.2 percent owned by the government, can make its oil last that much longer.

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