Research 2020
Composites AM Market Opportunities

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AerospaceAM for SpaceMetal Additive Manufacturing

GKN helps PythomSpace leverage AM to get ahead in the growing space economy

On these pages, we’ve often had the opportunity to show how AM is helping the still relatively young new space economy literally get off the ground. Following in Space X’s, NASA’s and ESA’s footsteps, many fascinating startups are using AM to create unique space parts, including engines, satellites and even entire rockets (are on the way). We now zoom in on a newcomer in this… space: PhytomSpace. The firm recently partnered with 3D printing specialist GKN Additive to accelerate product development and leverage the economic advantages that additive manufacturing can offer.

PythomSpace specializes in building small launch vehicle rocket engines, that will make future space exploration more affordable. Founders Tina and Tom Sjögren moved from Sweden to the US about 20 years ago. The entrepreneurial couple has a background in mountaineering and polar skiing before they discovered their passion for space. The majority of their team at PythomSpace are people they met on their professional expeditions.

PythomSpace

Speaking with GKN’s Susanne Trautmann (you can read their full interview here), Tina and Tom pointed out that the new space start-ups are now coming from absolutely nowhere. With a limited engineering background, they throw themselves at all the new tools available and 3D printing is a key new tool to make this possible.

“We are currently building a rocket with a very small team. 20 years ago, this process would have required maybe a thousand people. Our company wouldn’t even have been possible back then, but 3D printing changes things: we can now save time and a lot of money. You don’t have to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars that you did before,” Tom pointed out.

PythomSpace

PythomSpace has so far worked additively with Inconel 625 and will switch to Inconel 718 in the next phase. Both materials are nickel-chromium alloys and were used already in the 60s. The main difference is that this time the material can be 3D printed. Also, materials are currently evolving quickly, so now they are exploring options in aluminum and copper as well.

GKN’s Susanne Trautmann spoke with Pythom Co-founders Tom Sjögren to get a better understanding of their roadmap, future plans and the latest trends in the space industry. Read the full interview.

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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