Dec 11, 2015 | By Kira

French company Thales announced this week that it will be establishing a new high-tech industrial competence center for 3D metal printing in Morocco, to be completed and ready to manufacture aerospace and other high-value parts by 2018. The project, one of three partnerships between the company and Moroccan authorities, is fully in line with Morocco’s grand 2014-2020 Industrial Acceleration Plan, which seeks to speed up the development pace of the industrial sector, and boost the country’s economy. Because nothing says ‘Industrial Acceleration’ like a healthy investment in aerospace.

If there’s one thing the aerospace industry can’t get enough of these days, it’s additive manufacturing and metal 3D printing technology. From NASA to the US Air Force to South Korea’s Air Force, 3D printing technology is highly sought out as it significantly reduces the time required to develop and manufacture high-value parts in complex metal alloys for aerospace and space applications. Thanks to advancements in new 3D printing materials and processes, these parts are also lighter, faster, and safer than ever before.

For these exact reasons, Thales has been at the forefront of developing 3D printing technology for aerospace applications. The company uses a high-intensity laser beam to melt successive layers of metal alloy powders to develop and produce superior parts. With the new Casablanca-based centre, which will feature cababilities scanning all aspects of metal 3D printing, Thales plans to take its current pre-product investment program even further and promote its 3D printing technology in yet another corner of the world.

Currently, the company is global leader with a presence in international aerospace industries. Recently, Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture of Thales, constructed 3D printed antenna supports for the Koreasat 5A and Koreasat 7 telecommunications satellites. The supports were said to be the largest 3D printed parts ever made in Europe. Thales Alenia Space also helped develop Europe’s first space-ready 3D printer, alongside Italian company Altran Italia, which was successfully launched to the ISS just this week. These two examples are mere drops in Thales' global aerospace bucket.

And for Morocco, the development of this industrial competence 3D printing center represents its commitment to modernize its industrial economy and stay competitive in the global sphere. “This project consolidates Morocco’s position as a key industrial platform, expanding our aerospace ecosystem to include a new technology that will undoubtedly shape the future of the aerospace industry,” said Morocco’s Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy.

 

"This competence centre will give us access to a highly capable ecosystem of industrial suppliers specializing in mechanical parts; helping us meet all our requirements in terms of material, performance and reproducibility for the aerospace and space markets,” added Thales Morocco country director Pierre Prigent.

The establishment of the 3D printing competence center is just one of three major areas of cooperation between Thales and Moroccan authorities, which might just be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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