French multinational company Thales has given the official go-ahead for the creation of a new industrial competence centre specialising in metal additive manufacturing (3D printing) in Casablanca. This project is fully in line with the 2014-2020 Industrial Acceleration Plan launched by the Moroccan authorities, which supports the development of an innovative ecosystem involving Thales and its local suppliers.
The creation of a high-tech industrial competence centre is one of three main areas of cooperation between Thales and Morocco. The project will begin in 2016, and the 3D printing facility will be fully operational as of 2018.
With additive manufacturing, components can be produced with more complex internal structures than is possible with conventional processes, and time to market is also shorter. The 3D printing technology adopted by Thales involves melting successive layers of metal alloy powders using a high-intensity laser beam.
“This competence centre will give us access to a highly capable ecosystem of industrial suppliers specialising in mechanical parts; helping us meet all our requirements in terms of material, performance and reproducibility for the aerospace and space markets,” said Pierre Prigent, Thales country director in Morocco.
3D printing will reduce the time it takes to develop and manufacture high-value parts in complex metal alloys for aerospace and space applications. Thales’s expertise in the materials, processes and requirements specific to the aerospace and space sectors will enable the technology to reach maturity more quickly. With its proven industrial processes and manufacturing capabilities, the new competence centre is a further step in Thales’s ongoing pre-product investment programme designed to promote the use of this innovative technology in France and other countries of operation.
“This project consolidates Morocco’s position as a key industrial platform, expanding our aerospace ecosystem to include a new technology that will undoubtedly shape the future of the aerospace industry,” said Moulay Hafid Elalamy, minister of industry, trade, investment and the digital economy.