Lockheed Martin is about to start space satellite mass production by using 3D printing technology. Or at least, that is what Denis Little, vice president of Production, revealed on October 4th, 2013. The company celebrated the Manufacturing day on this date with a presentation in front of Leadership Jefferson County community.
[Image Source: Lockheed Martin]
“Our Digital Tapestry of production brings digital design to every stage of the production process for a fluid product development cycle. From 3D virtual pathfinding simulations to 3D printing, we are using innovative digital technology to streamline the manufacturing process for lower cycle times and reduced costs for our customers.” Little stated.
The core of Digital Tapestry production line is the MBE (Model Based Engineering) tool which transfers 3-dimensional virtual model to production line.
Digital Tapestry will be implemented into Space System Company manufacturing process with the purpose to build titanium satellite parts with reduced material waste, cost and production time. Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, is a process where a detail or entire object is transferred from computer 3D model to reality by using special tools. In this case, heated titanium segments are arranged and applied in layers to build almost any shape.
Space Systems Company is already using additive manufacturing for satellite parts production and it is expected to expand the technology until building of entire satellites is possible.