Aviation and defense parts manufacturer Safran and industrial 3D printer manufacturer Prodways Group are teaming up accelerate development of additive manufacturing (3D printing) materials and processes.
The agreement follows the trend that has seen major aviation OEM’s such as Airbus, Boeing and and large tier 1 suppliers such as GE work closely with – and sometimes invest in or acquire – AM companies.
As part of this collaboration, Safran Corporate Ventures is taking a stake in Prodways, one of the European leaders in 3D printing for industrial and trade applications. Prodways Group offers multi-material solutions, in particular based on its MOVINGLight technology.
A Framework Technology Partnership
The partnership agreement signed by Safran and Prodways Group concerns the development of printable materials and assembly processes for these materials with inorganic compounds, such as ceramics and metals, which can be applied to Safran’s products and processes. In addition to this general contract, the companies could also sign specific contracts in areas such as casting, metallic parts made by indirect manufacturing, and high-temperature polymer powders for composites. The five-year contract is non-exclusive, and is renewable by a jointly agreed amendment.
“This agreement reflects Safran’s proactive policy on additive manufacturing,” noted Stéphane Cueille, Safran Executive Vice President, R&T and Innovation. “Safran is already at the cutting edge of this field, and uses 3D printing technology to make parts and subassemblies for its engines, as well as aircraft and defense equipment. Through this agreement, the two companies will be able to pool their skills to effectively transform the technology building blocks offered by Prodways into additive manufacturing processes for Safran products.”
A Stake in Prodways Group
Along with this agreement, Safran Corporate Ventures, in conjunction with Fimalac and BNPP, has subscribed convertible bonds prior to the stock market listing of Prodways Group on Euronext Paris, announced today. These three investors, as well as Bpifrance and Financière Arbevel, have also pledged to subscribe to Prodways’ capital increase.
Prodways Group recorded sales of 25.2 million euros in 2016, with 58% of the total generated on international markets. The company works for a number of different sectors, including aerospace and healthcare, and provides an integrated package of products and services that is unrivaled in Europe (3D printing machines, composite, hybrid and powder materials, the manufacture of plastic and metal parts).
Along with this agreement, Hélène de Cointet, co-head of Safran Corporate Ventures, will join the Prodways Group Board of Directors.