Bengaluru: State-run defence company Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Wipro 3D, the metal additive manufacturing business of Wipro Infrastructure Engineering, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to design, develop, test, manufacture, and repair of aerospace components using metal additive technology.
“The initiative will focus on development, prove out and production of aerospace applications including MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul) using metal additive manufacturing. Prove-outs and certification of components developed using metal 3D printing is also a key element of this cooperation," Wipro and HAL said in a joint statement.
HAL is primarily using 3D printing to make engine components, though its applications are also found in its dedicated Helicopter MRO division, operational since 2006, which provides service and lifetime support to helicopters and other rotary wing products. The division also provides product support to various customers such as Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, and Coast Guard.
In December last year, Wipro 3D and the Indian Institution of Science (IISc) have jointly developed an “industry grade" and “indigenous" 3D printing machine. “India’s first metal 3D printing machine works on selective electron beam melting technology and offers higher build rate, better thermal management, higher part density as well as superior mechanical properties," the company said.
Metal additive manufacturing or 3D printing offers the possibility to produce complex parts without the design constraints of traditional manufacturing routes. The technology has been gaining prominence among sectors such as aerospace & defence, automobile, medical, energy, and consumer products.
Globally, the aerospace industry has been one of the foremost adopters of metal 3D printing due to the benefits of faster design iterations, weight and geometry optimization, performance improvement and flexible manufacturing. The global aerospace 3D printing market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 22% to reach $6.74 billion in 2026 from $1.36 billion in 2018, according to a report from Fortune Business Insights.
Commenting on the collaboration, Shekhar Shrivastava, CEO, Bangalore Complex, HAL, said, “This initiative between HAL and Wipro 3D will create a unique synergy of capabilities that can accelerate the adoption of metal additive manufacturing in aerospace in India. Qualification of parts for aerospace is challenging as it would require prove out and extensive testing followed by certification by regulatory authorities which may also include flight testing."