BAE Systems, a UK-based defense, security and aerospace company, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with British AM company Renishaw. Through the agreement, the companies will work to develop additive manufacturing solutions for the defense and aerospace sectors with the aim of reducing costs and increasing production times and quality for future combat aircraft.
Both British companies will leverage their respective expertise: Renishaw brings to the table extensive knowledge of metal additive manufacturing, while BAE Systems will offer its extensive experience in the defense and aerospace sectors. The MoU also lays the groundwork for future joint research and collaboration.
“Additive manufacturing has and will continue to deliver significant benefits to our sector,” said Andy Schofield, Manufacturing & Materials Strategy & Technology Director for BAE Systems. “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.”
Schofield signed the MoU alongside Renishaw Chief Executive Will Lee on a recent visit to BAE Systems’ manufacturing facilities in Samlesbury, Lancashire. The facility comprises a 1,000-square-meter New Product Development & Process Development Centre (NPPDC), where state-of-the-art processes like additive manufacturing are being explored for various aircraft design and production applications. The site reportedly already houses a number of Renishaw AM systems.
“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,” commented Will Lee. “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.”
BAE Systems has a long-running interest in additive manufacturing technologies. In fact, the company first began its AM research over two decades ago. Today, the company has several partnerships across the AM industry—including Stratasys—and leverages 3D printing to make production components for Typhoon fighter aircraft and prototypes for Tempest, a next-gen combat air system, among other things.