Additive manufacturing, better known as 3D printing, opens up new possibilities in the production of high-performance parts for demanding applications. A recent example of this development is the partnership between Thales 3D Morocco, a subsidiary of the Thales Group, and AddUp, a metal additive manufacturing company jointly operated by Michelin and Fives. They have reached a significant milestone by producing aluminum parts for use in aerospace and security applications.
As part of this partnership, AddUp has installed and commissioned a FormUp 350 four-laser machine at the Thales facility in Casablanca. This machine, which is qualified under the European space protocol ECSS-Q-ST-70-80 C, meets technical requirements for some of the most demanding applications in the Thales ecosystem.
AddUp will also support Thales in production. Two identical machines at AddUp’s premises are currently undergoing the same validation process to ensure business continuity when demand exceeds Thales’ capacity.
“We are thrilled to supply the FormUp 350 to a customer such as Thales. This is a milestone for us which confirms relevance of our product and business strategy” says Julien Marcilly, CEO AddUp.”
Thales adapted metal additive manufacturing at an early stage. Since 2015, titanium and aluminum parts have been frequently used on board satellites. To accelerate the use of the technology in its portfolio, Thales opened a 3D manufacturing facility in Casablanca, Morocco in 2017, strategically located in the heart of the local aerospace ecosystem. The facility specializes in the production of 3D parts that meet high performance and quality standards for critical applications in the aerospace, aviation and security sectors, such as equipment and antenna supports, radio frequency components, heat sinks and more.
“Working in partnership with AddUp to fine tune the FormUp350 machine will not only help us reach best–in-class productivity and HSE protection but will also help reduce the cost of controls thanks to advanced monitoring functions” says Xavier Crassous, International Operations and Partnerships Director. By adding this new multi-laser machine to Thales 3D Morocco production capability, we expect to significantly widen the range of Aluminum applications where we can bring innovation and competitiveness thanks to additive manufacturing.”
The FormUp 350 is a modular, scalable metal additive manufacturing solution designed and built by manufacturers for manufacturers. It meets the highest expectations of customers in terms of productivity and safety and offers first-class surface quality. The system is equipped with four lasers, each covering 100% of the melting platform. It also enables metal powder to be held under inert gas from start to finish and offers advanced traceability and production control options.