Sep 4, 2018 | By Thomas

Australian metal additive manufacturing company, Titomic, has announced its first defence agreement with TAUV, to produce a ruggedised soldier-enabled Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Titanium using the Titomic Kinetic Fusion technology.

The ruggedised 3D printed soldier-enabled drone prototype in Titanium has been shortlisted for Innovation Awards at Land Forces 2018, the international defence exposition in Adelaide this week.

Jointly developed by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, and Force Industries, the new Titomic Kinetic Fusion process takes cold spray technology, but uses it to 3D print parts from titanium alloys.

The process involves spraying titanium powder in a chamber, where gas is heated up that accelerates the titanium particles through a nozzle and out of a spray gun. That spray gun is controlled by a robotic arm to spray in precise patterns, and when particles “hit” each other on the surface, they become bonded at a mechanical level through a process of plastic deformation.

In May this year Titomic announced the launch of the world’s 'largest' metal 3D metal printer at its state of the art facility in Melbourne, Australia. Based on traditional cold spray technologies, the new 3D printing process can print on a 9 m long x 3 m wide x 1.5 m high scale. The bus-sized 3D printer is capable of printing large titanium components – from golf clubs to complex aircraft wing parts at supersonic speeds. It can print metal bike frames in around 25 minutes.

A ruggedised soldier-enabled UAV in Titanium improves stability and impact resistance, tamperproof payloads in the hands of enemies, external mounting for easy deployment and forward scouting of routes.

The award of this initial testing & prototype feasibility project validates Titomic Kinetic Fusion’s potential applications in one of its target industries. The tactical UAV market is estimated to be worth $545 million in 2018 according to The Teal Group. Gilbert Michaca, CEO of Titomic remarked, “Titomic’s first Defence UAV project validates Titomic’s advanced manufacturing capability to produce complex shaped products with improved performance characteristics as well as the advantage of sovereign industrial capability. This prototype of a Titanium soldier-enabled UAV manufactured in Australia is just the first step into a market with significant export potential.”

Titomic CTO Jeff Lang (left), TAUV Founder Nathan Kalisch (centre), Titomic CEO Gilbert Michaca (right). Image credit: Titomic

TAUV is an Australian company specialising in the integration of electronics to develop intelligent platforms for advanced soldier systems, enhancing soldier safety and performance, enabling advanced tactical systems and ensuring operational advantage. TAUV applies advanced manufacturing processes to develop super lightweight airborne assets such as tactical UAV platforms for defence, law enforcement and civil industry.

Generally, the testing to production phase in new Defence applications from the sales pipeline takes a minimum of eighteen months. This prototype has been accelerated with Client due to the synergies in the co-development of an innovative product. The next phase will involve tests conducted by Client in Adelaide.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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