BAE Systems have signed an agreement to work with Renishaw to work together on the development of additive manufacturing capability for the defence and aerospace sector, designed to help improve performance, reduce costs and speed up manufacturing processes on combat aircraft of the future.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) lays the framework to bring together world-leading expertise in additive manufacturing (AM, also known as 3D printing) to maximise the application of this novel emerging manufacturing technique. The agreement also opens up opportunities for joint research and development.
The MoU was signed by Manufacturing & Materials Strategy & Technology Director for BAE Systems, Andy Schofield, and Will Lee, Chief Executive, Renishaw, during a visit to our manufacturing facilities in Samlesbury, Lancashire.
The site is already home to several Renishaw advanced AM machines which form part of a 1,000 square metre dedicated New Product Development & Process Development Centre (NPPDC), where the latest emerging technologies and processes such as AM and Virtual Reality are explored and tested for application into aircraft design and manufacture. With a particular focus on additive manufacturing, investments into technologies like those provided by Renishaw help to ensure BAE Systems remain at the cutting edge of aerospace manufacturing, exploiting the latest technologies and processes to continually improve its advanced manufacturing capabilities.
BAE Systems began research into additive manufacturing techniques more than two decades ago and are currently using the technology to make production standard components for the Typhoon fighter aircraft. It is also applied in the rapid prototyping of new technology concepts as part of a drive to deliver Tempest - a capable, affordable and exportable next generation future combat air system.
Tempest future combat air system
Andy Schofield said: “Additive manufacturing has and will continue to deliver significant benefits to our sector. Renishaw is a world leader in additive manufacturing and we have been impressed with the quality of parts produced on its machines. This agreement allows us to create a more open and collaborative environment to share ideas and knowledge. In an environment of fast developing technology and challenged budgets, collaboration and innovation are absolutely essential in order to retain cutting edge capability. I’m really excited by the potential this partnership has to help us deliver that. ”
Will Lee said: “We have a great relationship already with BAE Systems, developed over many years through the application of our metrology products and have more recently worked with them on evaluating and understanding the performance envelope of our AM systems. We are delighted that they have been impressed with our systems, and this, together with our vision for AM development, has led to the strengthening of our collaboration. We look forward to the exciting opportunities that this strategic collaboration presents to further develop AM technologies for demanding aerospace production applications.”
The MoU with Renishaw is the latest in a number of collaborations BAE have formed across academia and business. Working in partnership with other technology leaders and experts is a key part of the Company’s strategy, to deliver more capability, more quickly, by maximising investment.