Sep 8, 2017 | By David

The expansion of 3D printing is continuing at a remarkable rate, as the technology enters an ever- growing number of industries as well as being studied and implemented in more and more regions. The latest area to benefit from this unstoppable advance is Morocco. Global technology leader Thales Group, based in France, has recently established a new industrial research and development center in the North African country’s capital, Casablanca. It will be focused on improving the region’s competencies in metal 3D printing, to benefit industries both local and further afield.

Thales Group’s international presence is already considerable, with over 64, 000 employees and collaborators in 56 different countries. The company specializes in cutting-edge technologies like 3D printing, and has major influence in the aerospace and defense industries. This latest step will expand the French company’s global footprint even further, while in the process supporting Morocco’s ambitions to develop its aerospace sector. Aerospace accounted for around 40 percent of Thales Group’s revenue in 2016, which in total came to around 16 billion Euros.

An opening ceremony for this new research center was held this week, after it was initially announced back in June. The Moroccan Minister for Industry, Investment, Commerce and Digital Economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, was in attendance, as was the director of Thales Group Morocco, Pierre Prigent, and Jean-Claude Derbes, who is overseeing the partnership. Local industrial leaders and authority figures also saw the inauguration of this major new establishment.

The Kingdom of Morocco is supporting an initiative known as the Industrial Acceleration Plan 2014-2020, which heavily involves Thales Group alongside other local technology suppliers and manufacturers. It is intended to develop an innovative technological eco-system in the country, with a strong influence over manufacturing. Boeing has already established several sub-contractors in the kingdom, and Thales Group is continuing this wave of investment and enthusiasm .

This center is part of Thales Group’s Industry 4.0 plan, which is aiming to take full advantage of the new disruptive technololgies that will completely revolutionize the way manufacturing works over the next few years. Prigent described the new center as a form of experiment, allowing the company to see what new directions to pursue as innovations such as artificial intelligence, alongside 3D printing, change the way businesses operate.

 A total investment of around 25 million Euros was made by Thales Group to establish the center, and they should expect a major return on this if the 3D printing industry continues to grow at the same pace. Metal 3D printing in particular is proving incredibly valuable, due to the increased efficiency and improved material qualities offered by 3D printed parts.

The new center covers an area of 1000 square meters, and is located in the Midparc zone of Casablanca. While currently still in its developing stages, it should eventually employ around 20 engineers for a range of different tasks. Currently  7 highly qualified professionals are operating at the center, which has two 3D printing systems that make use of the Selective Laser Melting technique. 8 more metal 3D printers should eventually be added to its portfolio. They will be used to produce high-quality, reliable metal parts for various applications, particularly in the aerospace sector.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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