The UK’s Satellite Applications Catapult is set to take delivery of a MetalFAB1 3D printing system from Additive Industries in a bid to bring the latest metal additive manufacturing technology to the UK space industry.

The machine has been acquired as part of an investment from the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership, through the Getting Building Fund, and will made available to UK companies at the Satellite Applications Catapult’s Disruptive Innovation for Space Centre (DISC) at Westcott Venture Park from July this year.

Mike Curtis-Rouse, Head of Manufacturing for Space at Satellite Applications Catapult said: “The surge in the number of companies aspiring to build and support new launch vehicles and in space propulsion continues to grow. This new capability will ensure that UK SMEs can access the latest in additive manufacturing technology to accelerate their businesses, prove new processes and learn first-hand the skills needed to fully exploit the phenomenal technology that the MetalFAB1 delivers. Our collaboration with Additives Industries also marks a significant milestone bringing weight saving, novel geometries, low volume production requirements and reduced part count solutions to any potential business wanting to manufacture aerospace parts. Positioned at our new facility at Westcott, we look forward to creating a hot-bed of testing and development to build capacity for any new or existing UK space manufacturing enterprises.”

Together with Additive Industries, the Satellite Applications Catapult will use the technology to demonstrate the potential for additive manufacturing within the space sector, with a specific emphasis on rocket engines. In an effort to lower the barriers to industrial AM technologies for UK SMEs and help cultivate the UK space industry, companies will be able to use the technology on a pay-as-you-go basis, working either with the Catapult’s expert Manufacturing for Space team or in an independent capacity.

Ian Howe, CEO of Additive Industries added: “With The Satellite Applications Catapult we added one of Europe’s leading Space Technology Organisations to our focused list of companies. They are committed to bringing the benefits provided by our MetalFAB1, for example best in class productivity, highest component quality, highest system reliability to satellite technologies in the UK, and potentially the entire European space sector.”

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