Markforged Inc, Boston Massachusetts, USA, and its British reseller Mark3D have joined with aerospace supplier Leonardo UK, Yeovil College and the Somerset County Council to open and fully support a state-of-the-art Additive Manufacturing centre within the iAero Centre in Yeovil, Somerset, UK.
“One of the main aims of iAero is to provide an environment where new products and high value design and engineering solutions can be developed in collaboration with key industrial partners,” stated Austin Chick, head of iAero. “Engineers from all over the west of England will be able to use this first-class facility to further develop groundbreaking ideas and turn them into reality.”
Located on land owned by Leonardo and situated next its UK end-to-end helicopter facility, the new iAero Innovation Centre provides a purpose-built research, design and innovation facility to support the growing aerospace sector in the region. As an anchor tenant and collaboration partner, Leonardo is currently utilising the centre with a number of projects already planned for the new capability.
The centre will be equipped with the full portfolio of Additive Manufacturing machines from Markforged, capable of processing expanding range of engineering metals such as tool steels, copper and Inconel.
“The joint investment we see here today is further proof that the Aerospace and Defence industry in the South West of England is buoyant and ready to develop new products to support the world market,” stated Kevin Murphy, Markforged UK Territory Manager. “Markforged is delighted to be involved with this project and we look forward to helping both today’s engineer and the engineers of the future learn how additive manufacturing can turn ideas into reality.”
The iAero project also enables students from Yeovil College to use the facility. Students will be able to work side by side with people from industry, gaining valuable contextual experience in project related applications. Students can also take advantage of the Markforged University Programme, adding online courses in AM to their list of qualifications and skills.
Mark3D is co-investing in the support to this high-tech AM system; a full support package to include training and advice on optimum use of the system will be provided, as well as technically supporting the equipment over the agreement period.
Ian Weston, MD at Mark3D UK, concluded, “We expect this equipment to be utilised fully and it is important that the materials, consumables and spares are immediately available to the team. Our role is to facilitate a smooth running environment, provide advice with manufacturing decisions during the design process and help people in their learning phase. Additive is a really exciting place to be at the moment. This system offers the ability to design and manufacture in ways not possible a few years ago. This will enable companies in the region to upskill and become more competitive in their respective specialisms.”
More information about iAero is available here.