Gardner Aerospace acquires FDM Digital Solutions, forming new Technology Centre

Gardner Aerospace, a UK-based aviation OEM, has acquired FDM Digital Solutions, a Lancashire-based 3D printing solutions provider.

Following this acquisition, FDM Digital Solutions will become part of a new business known as Gardner Technology Centre, which is focused on advanced technology solutions, including additive manufacturing.

“Gardner Aerospace is breaking new ground in terms of technology,” said Dominic Cartwright, CEO at Gardner Aerospace.

“The acquisition of FDM and the creation of our new Technology Centre business unit provides us with the perfect opportunity to expand our technical knowledge, R&D capability and product offering, and aligns us with our customers’ growing expectations on innovative solutions, continuous improvement and cost competitiveness.”

Gardner Aerospace and FDM Digital Solutions

Gardner Aerospace manufacturers aerospace components for OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers worldwide such as Airbus, Embraer, Gulfstream, Pilatus, Spirit, GKN, Stelia Aerospace, Ruagand Safran. Presently, the company employs over 2000 people across its 17 facilities in the UK, France, Poland, India, and China. 

Founded in 2011, FDM Digital Solutions is equipped with industrial additive manufacturing systems including seven Stratasys machines, one HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer, and two Roboze machines. It is said to have the biggest commercially available capacity of industrial FDM in the UK with the largest build envelopes.

As a part of the new Gardner Technology Centre, 3D printing will be leveraged for the creation of novel aerospace parts. Cartwright continued, “The role of 3D printing within manufacturing is constantly expanding and this newly acquired additive layer manufacturing capability complements Gardner’s long-standing capabilities as a producer of metallic detailed parts and sub-assemblies.”

3D printed tooling produced on the Stratasys F900 Production 3D Printer. Photo via Stratasys.
3D printed tooling produced on the Stratasys F900 Production 3D Printer. Photo via Stratasys.

Additive manufacturing and aerospace

Recently, FDM Digital Solutions and Roboze, an Italian 3D printer manufacturer, entered into a collaboration to develop processes for high-grade thermoplastics such as PEEK for aerospace applications in the UK.

Prior to this, the company partnered with Valuechain to open an innovation center at its Lancashire facility. This involved the integration of Artificial Intelligence capabilities into Valuechain’s production management software for additive manufacturing called DNAam.

The ARGO 350 3D printer. Photo via ROBOZE.
The ARGO 350 3D printer. Photo via ROBOZE.

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Featured image shows the inside of a Gardner Aerospace facility. Photo via Gardner Aerospace.