Gen3D to collaborate with MTC led £14m additive manufacturing aerospace project

DRAMA program by MTC UK

We are pleased to announce that Gen3D will be participating in a highly influential consortium of leaders in the UK aerospace industry to accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing in the UK aerospace supply chain. Led by the MTC, these projects will grow innovation in the sector and give a significant boost to the whole aerospace industry.

Gen3D expects to be working closely with the MTC, Renishaw and other partners to use our AM design software to investigate how the aerospace sector can exploit the benefits of additive manufacturing with fluid-flow components. Our click-and-drag user interface makes this process easy, so we’re excited to join this program which is so important to the UK aerospace industry.

Tackling barriers to growth in the aerospace industry

£3.9 billion of UK government and industry funding has been committed to the aerospace sector by 2026. As part of this, in 2017, the UK Government announced £53.7 million of funding through the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP). The UK aerospace sector has the largest number of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) companies in Europe, and this funding was delivered to specifically tackle barriers to growth, boost exports and create high-value jobs, especially for SMEs.

Why the UK aerospace industry must invest in additive manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing (AM) has the potential to revolutionise the way aerospace components are manufactured. It can assist the aerospace sector to produce lightweight parts, which will lead to significant reductions in fuel consumption and emissions.

The UK currently is strong in additive manufacturing R&D and has a world-leading aerospace manufacturing sector that is second in the global rankings. However, there are costs and risks associated with setting up AM processes for aerospace supply chain companies, especially when it comes to R&D, training and purchasing equipment.

The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is leading these major aerospace R&D projects for innovation in the sector, and one of the programs is called DRAMA (Digital Reconfigurable Additive Manufacturing Facilities for Aerospace).

DRAMA is a three year, £14.3m collaborative research project and part of the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute’s (ATI) programme. It is due for completion in 2021.

DRAMA – Digital Reconfigurable Additive Manufacturing Facilities for Aerospace

Unveiled at the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Conference 2017, DRAMA is supported by an Industrial Steering Group comprised of UK leaders in additive for aerospace.

The project will help build a stronger additive manufacturing supply chain for UK aerospace by developing a digital learning factory. The AM process chain will be digitally twinned which will enable the cost of process development to be de-risked. This will be possible because it will be carried it out in a virtual environment. An additive manufacturing ‘Knowledge Base’ will also be created, to help faster adoption of additive manufacturing by UK businesses. Most importantly, the project will also focus on the AM process to maximise the buy-to-fly ratio. This will mean significantly less waste than using traditional subtractive methods.

DRAMA will establish leading additive manufacturing ‘test bed’ facilities for the aerospace industry and its supply chain at the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (based at the MTC in Coventry) and Renishaw AM Solution Centre in Stone. We are extremely excited to be invited to utilise our expertise in fluid flow design to help transform the aerospace sector, particularly with regards to environmental improvements enabled by lighter-weight components.

Craft by NASA
craft by NASA – royalty free

Funding of DRAMA – Digital Reconfigurable Additive Manufacturing Facilities for Aerospace

DRAMA is funded by UKRI through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund – accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing in the aerospace supply chain. The consortium is led by the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) – home to the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing. The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) plays a crucial role in helping to direct this investment and maintain UK excellence in the sector.

DRAMA Project Partners include:

  • ATS
  • Autodesk
  • Ansys Granta
  • Aerospace Technology Institute
  • Innovate UK
  • Midlands Aerospace Alliance
  • Manufacturing Technology Centre
  • National Physical Laboratory
  • Renishaw
  • University of Birmingham

About The MTC – The Manufacturing Technology Centre

The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) was established in 2010 as an independent Research & Technology Organisation (RTO) with the objective of bridging the gap between academia and industry. They focus on delivering bespoke manufacturing system solutions for their customers and operate some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment in the world. They employ a team of highly skilled engineers, many of whom are leading experts in their field. This creates a high-quality environment for the development and demonstration of new processes and technologies on an industrial scale.

The MTC is part of the High-Value Manufacturing Catapult which is supported by Innovate UK.

About the UK National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (NCAM)

The UK National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (NCAM) was created to accelerate the uptake of Additive Manufacturing (AM) by developing the technology and systems required to address the key challenges within the AM value chain. NCAM is based at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. It is also home to The European Space Agency (ESA) AM Benchmarking Centre and a founding partner of the ASTM AM Center of Excellence.

NCAM has a team of engineers and technical specialists focused on AM who are ready to answer questions on all aspects of AM. Their facilities comprise metal, ceramic and polymer printers, plus a wide range of equipment for post-processing, and their new AM SmartSpace has the latest software available to help you de-risk your adoption of AM. Find out more here.