WAAM3D, a company founded by a research team from Cranfield University and based in Milton Keynes, UK, has won the Hub Breakthrough Award at the Aerospace Technology and Innovation (ATI) Awards conference in Birmingham, UK. The award is intended to highlight the company’s demonstrated potential to impact the aerospace sector and contribute to net-zero goals by 2050 for commercial flight.
Launched in July 2018, WAAM3D is commercialising the equivalent of over 300 years worth of academic research and development and leveraging the knowledge of 300 academic papers, forty PhD projects and over 100 Master’s projects. One of the key innovations delivered by the founding team is the achievement of forged microstructures and mechanical properties in structures made by wire arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM).
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The company now regularly demonstrates the feasibility of large-format AM, exemplified by such critical structures as primary titanium fuselage components for fighter jets, landing gear ribs, wing spars, and ribs.
WAAM3D also provides end-to-end software solutions, with computer-aided manufacturing, machine and process control, and post-build data analytics, powering WAAM3D’s flagship large-scale metal AM machine, RoboWAAM.
To win the award, WAAM3D demonstrated its innovation, the market needs and potential for Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing and how the organisation is contributing to UK aerospace. WAAM3D also has aerospace customers in ten countries, from USA to Japan.
“We are delighted to win this award. Our relentless innovation is once again spotlighted, as is the strength of our unique team,” stated Dr Filomeno Martina, CEO and co-founder of WAAM3D stated. “Our collaborations with leading organisations within UK aerospace have yielded some outstanding results. Lead times have been reduced from years to weeks, material utilisation has increased from 2% up to 90%, Embodied Energy and equivalent CO2 emissions have been more than halved, and supply chain risks greatly reduced. In the modern multi-polar world, looking at AM is key to protect and improve your business. It’s a great honour to be recognised by the ATI for our research and development and the positive impact we are having on the aerospace sector, at home and abroad.”
WAAM3D was also said to have impressed ATI judges by securing millions of pounds in grant funding and equity investment, resulting in the creation of forty-five jobs in the UK and Singapore. As part of its work within the local ecosystem, WAAM3D hires apprentices and conducts school tours in partnership with Cranfield University. This initiative promotes STEM subjects, inspiring potential young engineers.