APWORKS and Additive Industries advance metal 3D printing to series production in aerospace

Additive manufacturing consultancy and Scalmalloy producer APWORKS has confirmed a continued collaboration with metal 3D printer manufacturer Additive Industries. The two firms will qualify components at Additive Industries’ new Process & Application Development Center located near Bristol, UK.  The goal is to advance their shared additive manufacturing capabilities to series production of certified parts for the aerospace industry. Daan Kersten, CEO of Additive Industries, commented: 

“We are proud to continue our journey from prototyping to series production with APWORKS, our first customer and one of the frontrunners in our industry.”

Covering the entire value chain with metal 3D printing

Founded in 2013 as an Airbus Group spin-off, APWORKS is based at the Ludwig Bölkow Campus in Taufkirchen, near Munich. In a restructuring by Airbus in April 2018, APWORKS became a wholly owned subsidiary of Premium AEROTEC,  itself a subordinate of the same parent company.

APWORKS focuses on developing complex applications for metal additive manufacturing, and is well known for creating the world’s first metal 3D printed electric motorcycle, the Light Rider. Its operations cover the full metal additive manufacturing ecosystem, offering component optimization, powdered materials and qualified serial production.

The company has worked with the likes of Dassault Systèmes, a leader in 3D design software, to advance additive manufacturing for large-scale production in the aerospace and defense industry. In 2018, APWORKS announced the launch of a new software tool for industrializing metal 3D printing called AMXpert. According to the company, AMXpert is designed for “solving one of the central issues of additive manufacturing, namely, how to identify components with potential for metallic 3D printing.”

The Airbus APWorks Lightrider. Photo by Michael Petch.
The Airbus APWorks Lightrider 3D printed using Scalmalloy – a scandium aluminum alloy. Photo by Michael Petch.

Qualifying metal 3D printed parts for aerospace

The relationship between APWORKS and Additive Industries dates back to 2015, when the Premium AEROTEC subsidiary became the first beta customer of the MetalFAB1 systemNow members of APWORKS, headed by Chief Product Officer Jonathan Meyer, will travel to the Additive Industries Process & Application Development Center in Filton, UK. The center is located on an aerospace campus, situating the certification of aerospace parts closer to where components are actually produced.

Here, APWORKS will collaborate with an Additive Industries team led by Dr. Mark Beard, Global Director for Process & Application Development, to work on the qualification of 3D printed aerospace parts . Certification will focus on components produced using nickel based alloys and superalloys such as Inconel 718. 

APWORKS’ CEO, Joachim Zettler, explained “We believe metal additive manufacturing will continue to evolve into a mature fabrication technology and prove to be able to compete with conventional processes like casting, machining and powder metallurgy.”

“In the next years we expect this market to continuously and rapidly grow and especially in the aerospace industry, new airplanes and aeroengines will contain a substantial number of parts that are additively manufactured.”

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Featured image shows the MetalFAB1 printer by Additive Industries. Image via Additive Industries