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General Atomics partners with Conflux on a new additively manufactured heat exchanger

It will be integrated into military drones

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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has partnered with Australia-based Conflux Technology on the development of a heat exchanger. The part is being developed using a metal additive manufacturing process for possible integration onto GA-ASI’s line of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).

Conflux Technology is an additive manufacturing applications company based in Geelong, Victoria that specializes in thermal and fluid engineering. Leveraging EOS metal AM technology primarily, Conflux is providing design expertise in the optimization of additive manufacturing heat exchangers to increase the performance of RPA.

“GA-ASI and Conflux are developing novel and state-of-the-art thermal solutions for application to our existing and next-generation RPAS. This will allow enhanced endurance and lower manufacturing cost, as well as more flexibility in our product design and integration,” said Linden Blue, GA-ASI CEO.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), is an affiliate of General Atomics and a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator RPA series and the Lynx Multi-mode Radar.

General Atomics partners with Conflux
GA-ASI’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian

“Fundamental efficiency gains require heat transfer innovations. In Conflux we have a highly innovative engineering team that blends first principles thermo-fluid dynamics with design creativity and Additive Manufacturing process expertise,” said Michael Fuller, Conflux Technology CEO. “Conflux heat exchangers derive their performance from highly complex geometries enabled by Additive Manufacturing. Our scientists and engineers, alongside their GA-ASI counterparts, will now develop heat exchange applications to improve fundamental efficiencies for GA-ASI’s RPA systems.”

The Australian Government recently selected GA-ASI’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian variant to provide the Armed RPAS for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) under Project Air 7003. Australia joins other top-tier military forces in choosing MQ-9 because of its proven, multi-role combat performance and ability to support ad-hoc communications networks and interoperability with Allies. MQ-9B follows the legacy of GA-ASI’s Predator® series of RPAS, the world’s most trusted and capable armed Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) RPA Systems. The entire fleet has accumulated more than six million flight hours to date.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based 3dpbm. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore, as well as 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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