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Defence experts meet to discuss implications of Additive Manufacturing

More than 50 experts from Ministries of Defence, industry and academia have met in an EDA workshop held in ONERA to discuss the implications of additive manufacturing for defence capabilities.

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing as it is more commonly known, has received widespread media attention in the past few years. From prototypes for car manufacturers through to a fully 3D printed house in the Netherlands, the technology has the potential to radically change manufacturing across a host of industries, defence industries. As such Additive Manufacturing has been recognised as a key cross-cutting technology that could enhance defence capabilities in the EDA’s group working on Materials and Structures.

3D printing has particular benefits for the defence industry – where the need for tailored or adapted components is important. The technology will enable the manufacturing of pieces on demand, reducing the logistics of deploying spare parts and also making possible to develop tailored parts for a damage system in operations.

Connecting European experts

The main objective of the EDA workshop was to identify the potential impact of these technologies in Defence. Twenty-two speakers from eight different MS provided an exhaustive overview of the technology. The workshop gave background information on the state of the art of different additive manufacturing technologies, on-going work at EU level, and provided an overview of related projects, their synergies and future activities.

The needs of the air, maritime, energy industry for defence applications were presented, highlighting the capability gaps and the need for research & technology. In addition, presentations on specific technologies and steps in the value chain were included, such as: High strength steel by SLM, protection and highly dynamic behaviour, functional integration and weight reduction, novel materials and structural repairing, process modelling, qualification, certification, international standards development, metal powder processes, and the road to production. The information gathered during the workshop will help to identify the areas were further research is needed for the application of this technologies in the Defence sector. Furthermore, the synergies created during the event will create a network of experts on Additive Manufacturing within the EDA framework.

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