Wipro 3D, a Bangalore-based metal 3D printing service provider and consultancy firm, has signed an MoU with Indian aerospace and defence company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Both companies are seeking to increase the adoption of metal additive manufacturing in the Indian aerospace industry.
The MoU specifically focuses on the design, development, production and certification of aerospace components for Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul (MRO) using metal 3D printing. It also seeks to accelerate the development and application of new materials for use in metal additive manufacturing.
Commenting on the collaboration, Mr. Ajay Parikh, Vice President & Business Head, Wipro 3D, stated “The MoU will provide significant manufacturing and MRO flexibility and freedom to existing, upcoming, and legacy Aerospace programmes.”
“The Additive Technology capability Wipro 3D has built over the years in Aerospace and Defense verticals will help us in collaborating with HAL.”
3D printing in the Indian aerospace industry
Founded in 2012, Wipro 3D is the metal additive manufacturing division of Wipro Infrastructure Engineering (WIN), an Indian industrial engineering business with expertise in hydraulics, aerospace, water treatment, and automation, as well as 3D printing.
In March 2018, Wipro 3D inaugurated a metal 3D printing experience center at its headquarters in Bengaluru, India. In late 2019, the company also signed an MoU with the National Design and Research Forum in Bengaluru to work on aspects of design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) and develop standards for the aerospace industry.
Speaking with 3D Printing Industry in 2018, Manoj S. Pillai, Business Development Manager at Wipro 3D, explains that most adopters of metal additive manufacturing in India are government R&D organizations, “mainly because the defence, space and aerospace sectors in India are government owned organisations.” Wipro 3D’s latest MoU with HAL follows this trend, as the organization is Indian state-owned, governed under the management of the Indian Ministry of Defence.
Qualifying 3D printed components for aerospace
On a global scale, the aerospace industry has been a primary adopter of metal additive manufacturing due to various benefits including faster design iterations, weight and geometry optimization, performance improvement and flexibility. This has mainly been achieved through rigorous certification processes ensuring that the 3D printed components comply with strict industry standards.
For example, the Etihad Aviation Group recently opened an additive manufacturing facility for MRO in Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with German 3D printer manufacturers EOS and BigRep. The facility has received Design and Production Approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to produce aircraft parts using powder-bed fusion technology.
In order to accelerate the adoption of metal 3D printing in the Indian aerospace industry, both Wipro 3D and HAL will also focus on qualification of the parts through extensive testing, and certification by regulatory authorities. “This initiative between HAL and Wipro 3D will create a unique synergy of capabilities that can accelerate the adoption of metal additive manufacturing in Aerospace in India. Qualification of parts for Aerospace is challenging as it would require prove out and extensive testing followed by certification by regulatory authorities which may also include flight testing,” comments Mr. Shekhar Shrivastava, CEO, Bangalore Complex, HAL. “Metal 3D printing has the potential to play a significant role in the success of national aerospace and defense platforms including HAL’s own needs.”
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Featured image shows 3D printed North West Feed Cluster 2×2 in orbit by Wipro 3D. Photo by Wipro 3D.