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Metal 3D printing: Thales creates a global centre of expertise in Morocco

Sep 09. 2017 

Thales inaugurates its industrial Competence Centre in Casablanca, specialising in metal additive manufacturing, also known as metal 3D printing. Metal 3D printing will lead to a reduction in the development and manufacturing times for parts with high added value made from complex metal alloys in all mechanical domains, in particular the aerospace and space domains.

Spread across an area of 1000 m², in the Midparc zone in Casablanca, this industrial Competence Centre is currently equipped with two so-called selective laser melting technology machines. This technique, which involves fusing metal alloy powders using a high-intensity laser, is used to manufacture metal parts of unrivalled complexity, which cannot be manufactured using current technologies.

It is freed from the high-reliability constraints of traditional manufacturing, while reducing the number of parts used and making them lighter. The initial series will be produced with aluminium and titanium, widely used in the aerospace sector. In the medium-term, Thales is planning to acquire 10 machines.

Entering the Industry 4.0 era

The Industry 4.0 type procedure undertaken accelerates the efficiency of the production tool, allowing improved production, at a lower cost and in a more environmentally friendly manner. It offers a new way of handling production through smart systems used to collect, store, manage and analyse thousands of items of information from their sensors. This Competence Centre is fully in line with the digital transformation of Thales.

“Thales is bringing state-of-the-art technology and a high added value profession to Morocco: it is a genuine source of pride for us to deliver this leap forward to the country’s industrial sector. This new project is proof that the Moroccan is achieving a diametric shift in its industrial sector, which is driving the creation of highly specialized jobs in the country”, said Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Minister of Industry, Investment, Commercial and Digital Economy.

Thales has a long-standing partnership with Morocco. In the aerospace domain, Thales has supplied air navigation assistance equipment to the Moroccan Airports Authority (ONDA), along with on-board entertainment systems for the B737 and B787 aircraft of Royal Air Maroc. In April 2013, Thales and Rabat International University signed a partnership agreement in aerospace, space and cybersecurity to support technological innovation through training and research.

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