Aerospace AMDefenseIndirect AMIndustrial Additive Manufacturing

GKN Aerospace to provide AM for Northrop Grumman SMART Demo rocket motor

Solid rocket motor demonstrator to leverage large-scale laser metal deposition with wire (LMD-w)

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GKN Aerospace has been selected by Northrop Grumman to help develop components for a revolutionary solid rocket motor demonstrator. The first Solid Motor Annual Rocket Technology Demonstrator (SMART Demo) successfully tested a new motor that was developed in less than a year to showcase innovative technologies, including alternative manufacturing materials and processes.

Underpinned by GKN Aerospace’s ground-breaking AM capability, the project demonstrated technologies that could reduce production lead times by up to 75 percent, including large-scale laser metal deposition with wire (LMD-w), which optimizes product weight, ensures efficient use of high-cost alloys and significantly reduces lead times. GKN Aerospace’s support included additive manufacturing (AM) technology from its new Global Technology Centre in Fort Worth, Texas.

GKN Aerospace to provide AM for Northrop Grumman SMART Demo Solid rocket motor leveraging large-scale laser metal deposition with wire

Shawn Black, President of GKN Aerospace’s Defense Business, said, “We are delighted to collaborate with Northrop Grumman on SMART Demo. Programs like this underscore the significant benefits additive manufacturing can bring, such as reducing production costs and lead times for mission-critical products that support our Armed Forces and the commercial aviation industry. We are committed to innovation and to rapidly advancing this technology to support our customers and to provide greater resilience across the aerospace and defense industrial base.”

GKN Aerospace has been a pioneer in additive manufacturing for around two decades, with prominent research and technology centers in Sweden and the UK, as well as the USA. This month, the business announced a joint investment of £50 million with the Swedish Energy Agency into cutting-edge additive technology in Trollhättan, Sweden. In addition, GKN Aerospace has been a supplier to Northrop Grumman for many years. In 2022 GKN the company showcased its additive manufacturing leadership with an 8-foot titanium demonstrator, the largest AM component it had ever produced, in partnership with NGC.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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