During March 2019, developments in aerospace and construction continued. Moreover, the Wohlers report was published as well as responses on the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security proposal to extend control on exports emerging technologies provided further insights on additive manufacturing.
Emerging technologies and export control
Following last year’s quest to extend its export controls across a class of deemed “emerging technologies,” the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) received over 200 documents outlining stakeholder views on the changes.
The main responses from the 3D printing industry, including Airbus, Boeing, Stratasys, and Carbon, express concern towards the BIS’ proposal and expressing a clearer definition of the supposed “emerging technologies.”
3D printed satellites, frames, and pressure vessels
In aerospace, Franco-Italian aerospace manufacturer Thales Alenia Space began using 3D printing in a series production of its satellites, otherwise known as the Spacebus NEO platform. The first run of these additively manufactured components has been integrated into a commercial satellite project for Eutelsat Communications.
The Spacebus NEO platform is a line of all-electric geostationary telecommunications satellites that are being developed with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA) and CNES, France’s National Centre for Space Studies.
The first, the rear frame for a Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, produced for British defense company BAE Systems and the second, a prototype pressure vessel developed in collaboration with a Franco-Italian aerospace manufacturer Thales Alenia Space and Glenalmond Technologies.
Lights and construction
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, formed a consortium to explore the potential of 3D printing for solid-state lighting, building, and construction industries.
Furthermore, the 3DCONS, a Spanish construction consortium, completed a collaborative 3D printing R&D project “for the rehabilitation of claddings by direct printing and manufacture of prefabricated elements “à la carte” (without molds or formwork).”
Also within the construction sector, Al Kathiri Holding, a middle eastern building materials company, also received approval from the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Housing to develop and utilize 3D printed concrete for government-based projects.
Elsewhere, Carbon and adidas expanded its collaboration for the line of shoes utilizing Futurecraft 4D technology, with the addition of British fashion designer Stella McCartney, thus, creating the Stella McCartney x adidas AlphaEdge 4D shoe.
Finally, in education, Boston-based 3D printer manufacturer Markforged launched its Additive Manufacturing University program – a new scheme of workshops, learning exercises, on-site training, and resources.
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Featured image shows a prefabricated construction element 3D printed without molds or formwork. Image via Atanga, a consortium member of 3DCONS.