IHI Aerospace invest in 3DEO to accelerate AM adoption in the aerospace market

Los Angeles-based metal AM specialist 3DEO has announced a strategic partnership and investment from IHI AEROSPACE (IA), an aerospace engineering and manufacturing company. 

The partnership aims to bolster the adoption and implementation of AM technologies by IA, tapping into 3DEO’s expertise in Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) and technology differentiation.

“We are deeply honored to partner with IA, a company that shares our vision for the future of aerospace manufacturing,” said, Matt Petros, CEO and Co-founder of 3DEO. “This partnership underscores the incredible progress and potential of additive manufacturing, especially when coupled with a highly collaborative design for additive approach.”

3D printed metal parts. Photo via 3DEO Inc.
3D printed metal parts made using Intelligent Layering technology. Photo via 3DEO Inc.

Elevating aerospace AM capabilities

According to the company, IA’s investment in 3DEO signals confidence in its technology and team, fostering a collaborative effort to advance additive manufacturing capabilities in Japan’s aerospace manufacturing sector. Leveraging 3DEO’s patented technology, DfAM expertise, and IA’s engineering excellence, the partnership aims to enhance aerospace industry capabilities and standards, potentially driving significant improvements in manufacturing processes.

This partnership emphasizes 3DEO’s expanding global influence in manufacturing and follows 3DEO’s recent strategic investment with the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) and Seiko Epson Corporation. With undisclosed details, the collaboration aligns with DBJ’s technological innovation goal and Epson’s mission under its Epson 25 Renewed Corporate Vision. Facilitated through the DBJ Startups and Innovation Fund, the investment is expected to expand 3DEO’s business in North America and Japan, fostering AM capability integration and addressing manufacturing challenges in both regions.

Payman Torabi, CTO and Co-founder of 3DEO added, “Working alongside IA presents an exceptional opportunity to apply our additive manufacturing technologies to the aerospace sector. It’s a collaboration that stands to reduce time-to-market and drive innovation.”

Last year, 3DEO launched 316L stainless steel, a fully austenitic and non-magnetic alloy comparable to UNS S31603. This material offers superior ductility and mechanical characteristics, especially in space and elevated temperature conditions. Known for its high corrosion resistance and weldability, it is suitable for harsh environments.

Collection of small metal parts 3D printed by 3DEO. Photo via 3DEO.
Collection of small metal parts 3D printed by 3DEO. Photo via 3DEO.

Leveraging AM for the skies

Additive manufacturing for aerospace applications offers advantages like complex geometry creation and cost reduction, but challenges in material properties and certification processes persist. Ongoing developments in materials and processes are driving increased adoption, with many companies realizing the potential to reshape aircraft design and manufacturing in the future. Most recently, GE Aerospace, a division of General Electric (GE), announced plans to invest $650 million into global manufacturing and supply chain, increasing production capacity for LEAP engines powering Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX, and COMAC C919, as well as GE9X engines for Boeing 777X. 

This investment precedes GE Aerospace’s spinoff into an independent company, consolidating GE’s transformation into three separate entities. Of these $650 million, $450 million will enhance 22 US facilities, $100 million will support international sites, and $100 million will bolster US-based suppliers, fostering job creation and securing domestic supply chains.

In 2022, AddUp, an industrial metal 3D printer manufacturer, and Dassault Aviation, a French aerospace company, partnered to enhance metal 3D printing from prototyping to mass production in aeronautics. The collaboration aimed to develop, qualify, and integrate a multi-material metal 3D printing process optimized for producing aircraft components meeting classes 2 and 3 certifications. Named AEROPRINT, the project sought stability in terms of quality, reproducibility, and competitiveness within the metal 3D printing niche.

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Featured image shows 3D printed metal parts made using Intelligent Layering technology. Photo via 3DEO Inc.