Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) revealed that its Lockheed Martin’s Space division is now using Velo3D’s end-to-end additive manufacturing solution for its Additive Design & Manufacturing Center, which pilots new additive manufacturing technologies for production deployments. Following in the footsteps of younger AM companies that have embraced the technology, such as SpaceX, Velo3D was selected by LM for its advanced quality assurance capabilities made possible through its Assure software, which provides layer-by-layer traceability of machine health, part integrity, and build reporting.
The solution Velo3D has delivered to Lockheed Martin’s Additive Design & Manufacturing Center includes a Sapphire printer, Velo3D’s Flow print preparation software, its Assure quality assurance and control software, and its underlying Intelligent Fusion manufacturing process, which optimizes the additive manufacturing process by combining process simulation, geometry-based detection, and build process monitoring during print execution.
This end-to-end solution gives adopters the confidence that the mission-critical parts printed using Velo3D’s additive manufacturing technology preserve design intent. It also provides customers with the ability to produce identical parts across any Velo3D Sapphire printer, so as production needs increase, customers can merely add additional printers to their production facilities anywhere in the world or utilize Velo3D’s network of contract manufacturers.
“The past few years have uncovered weaknesses in the global supply chain, which is causing many companies to evaluate new technologies to feed production of their mission-critical parts and hardware, and distribute their manufacturing processes,” said Benny Buller, Velo3D CEO and Founder. “An additive manufacturing solution that can print identical parts anywhere you have a printer can not only help solve some very specific, complex challenges in our global supply chain, it can also lower production costs and lead times, and enable the manufacturing of parts in closer proximity to where they are needed.”
The company’s latest Sapphire XC system enables higher productivity and lower production costs for Velo3D customers. It also enables the printing of parts that are 600 mm in diameter and up to 550 mm in height—500% larger than the previous Sapphire system. Some have argued that SpaceX impressive success in developing cost-effective launch systems has benefited from the company’s adoption of AM solutions including Velo3D’s (SpaceX is an investor in Velo3D), while traditional space companies sky-high development costs (such as the SLS rocket for the Artemis mission of Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft) are due to ongoing reliance on legacy production methods which are far from ideally suited for space parts manufacturing. As larger companies such as Lockheed Martin increase their adoption of new and more effective AM solutions, the entire space industry is bound to benefit.