Aerospace, defence and security company Babcock International, London, UK, has opened an Additive Manufacturing centre as part of a new partnership with Plymouth Science Park (PSP), Devon, UK, a joint venture between the University of Plymouth and the Plymouth City Council. The centre was launched at an industry event attended by other technology collaborators including Kingsbury, Renishaw, AMFG and GOM.
The facility is expected to allow Babcock to increase its AM technology capabilities, including adding metal Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) to address critical needs across the engineering and defence support industry, including the development of a digital and data skills programme in collaboration with PSP. The facility will enable the company to additively manufacture parts for the first time as it needs them, increasing efficiency and sustainability.
“Really delighted to open the new Additive Manufacturing centre and see real innovation being delivered, right here in Plymouth, as part of this new partnership between Babcock and Plymouth Science Park,” stated local MP Johnny Mercer, who was invited to view the facility and switch on its first AM machine. “The advanced technologies and research that will be carried out at the centre will go beyond Plymouth I’m sure, and undoubtedly benefit some of our most critical areas, such as defence and health.”
Ian McFazden, Chief Executive of PSP, added, “Babcock will be the first company to use our new Additive Manufacturing facilities to strengthen their engineering and technical expertise in digital and data technologies, and through the partnership we will ensure engineers and apprentices develop new digital and data skills to enhance innovation adoption and increase productivity in the region.”
The partnership builds on Babcock’s relationship with the academic and technology community across the south west of Britain, and the local community around Babcock’s Devonport dockyard.
“This collaboration will accelerate Babcock’s R&D and real-world application of additive technologies,” stated Dr Jon Hall, Chief Innovation and Technology Officer for Babcock. “It provides a step change in how we’re advancing our own expertise and our partnerships to benefit our customers and the communities we operate in.”
“The challenge of obsolescence and support chain resilience is key for engineering businesses. That’s especially true for Babcock where we maintain complex and critical equipment over long lifecycles,” he continued. “Having a manufacturing capability that allows us to direct print what we need, when we need it, in direct collaboration with our customers, means we will be able to create parts at scale, in a more efficient and sustainable way – wherever there is a demand, in any part of our business.
Hall concluded, “Partnerships are fundamentally important to the work we do at Babcock – because when we collaborate we can make a real difference in solving some of the biggest challenges facing us today, and we’re really excited about the benefits this partnership can bring, to Babcock, our customers and of course, our people.”