Thales has inaugurated a new metal additive manufacturing or metal 3D printing technology facility in Casablanca, Morocco, to support the country’s aerospace and space industry.

The 1,000m² industrial competence centre is expected to help Thales in meeting its own and global customer requirements.

Equipped with two laser melting technology machines, the facility aims to create 20 positions for engineers and technicians.

The centre is also expected to support Morocco’s Industrial Acceleration Plan 2014 to 2020, which promotes the development of an innovative ecosystem in the country.

"Morocco has everything needed to become Thales' global centre of expertise in 3D printing."

Thales Morocco country director Pierre Prigent said: “With an existing aerospace ecosystem of subcontractors, Morocco has everything needed to become Thales' global centre of expertise in 3D printing.

“The use of a secure digital platform provides the industrial competence centre with the latest innovations in terms of connected industry and smart plants, and will improve the competitiveness of the solutions offered to our customers.”

Thales further noted that its selective laser melting technology facilitates the fusing of metal alloy powders using a high-intensity laser and is used to manufacture complex metal parts that cannot be made using existing technologies.

The company’s new centre will initially use aluminium and titanium to produce parts for various sectors.

Thales has also employed its ‘Industry 4.0’ type procedure at the centre in order to enhance the efficiency of the production tool, enabling improved production at a lower cost and in a more environmentally friendly manner.

In the medium-term, Thales is planning to purchase ten new laser melting technology machines.

Image: Thales opens new 3D printing facility in Casablanca, Morocco. Photo: courtesy of Thales Group.