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GKN AIRLIFT & DAM Programs Aim to Innovate 3D Printing

UK-based GKN Aerospace is starting up 2 new programs to accelerate Industrial additive manufacturing. The company hopes the programs will further increase market share for the technology globally. As a result, they are pumping £33 million into the AIRLIFT and DAM programs, both investigating different areas and processes.

GKN’s AIRLIFT and DAM programs will research serial production acceleration along with product innovation processes. AIRLIFT stands for Additive Industrialisation for Future Technology, while DAM is an acronym for Developing Design for Additive Manufacturing. Both programs have already netted quite an amazing list of partners including ATI, Autodesk and Siemens Digital Industries, the Centre for Modelling & Simulation (CFMS) and the University of Sheffield.

AM is a strategic technology for the Aerospace Industry that will fundamentally change the way we design and manufacture aircraft,” says Russ Dunn, CTO and Head of Strategy, GKN Aerospace. “AM enables us to control material characteristics enabling benefits in terms of product performance, cost and environment. With AIRLIFT and DAM and the Global Technology Centre in Bristol, GKN Aerospace will further develop and industrialize additive manufacturing within the UK industrial and scientific ecosystem.

Accelerating Global Industrial 3D Printing

GKN AIRLIFT & DAM Programs Aim to Innovate 3D Printing

Both programs have distinct purposes and contribute to different areas that will accelerate industrial additive processes. AIRLIFT aims to leverage automation and simulation to enhance LMD-w and powder bed technology. Similarly, DAM uses a data-driven material analysis for developing new design tools and methods. Altogether both processes add up to £33 million total, with AIRLIFT £19 million and DAM bringing in £19 million.

GKN also previously announced 10,000 square metre UK Global Technology Centre (GTC) costing a further £33 million. Many companies are on-board with this project, including additive manufacturing favourites Renishaw and Siemens. The facility serves as a base for GKN Aerospace’s technology partnership in the Airbus’ ”Wing of Tomorrow” programme as well as new additive manufacturing industrialisation programmes.

With these projects in the works, GKN is truly committing to aerospace additive manufacturing tech. Various companies have also been boosting their interesting in the technology, both metal and thermoplastic methods. GKN’s AIRLIFT and DAM initiatives may be a major force considering the companies involved and level of investment.

Featured image courtesy of GKN Aerospace.

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