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Where does metal additive manufacturing add value to the aerospace and defense industry? Moog has been exploring this question since 2011. Moog’s products are utilized in mission critical applicationslike steering a missile or keeping a satellite in orbit. The requirements that accompany these applications are some of the most arduousin theindustry. To meet our customer’s needs we developed an additive manufacturing strategy to mature processes to a point of field reliability. Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) metal additive technology was the best fit for us because of the dimensional resolution and surface finish requirements our products demanded.
Moog built additive expertise internally: this was a significantinvestment of training, resources and capital. The strategy also included having a centralized knowledge base that can serve Moog’sbusinesses globally.Moog proudly serves multiple industries, however our diverse customer base brings unique challenges to the additive team. In 2018, Moog further invested in the technology by establishing a full verticallyintegrated Additive Manufacturing Center (AMC) that can produce additive-qualified production parts. The AMC has the capability to design, print, final machine and analyze additive manufactured parts within the center.The necessary outlay helped further develop the technology beyond the use for prototypes.This investment led to many production applications now entering the early stages of manufacturing
Recently, we have observed shifts in the demand for the faster development of new technology solutions. The military has been seekingopportunities to use additive manufacturing to sustain existing equipment in the field but they are also interested in using it to reducelead-time and gain performance advantages in new hardware. Secretary of the Army, Ryan D. McCarthy said, “Advanced manufacturing [including additive manufacturing] will fundamentally change the way the Army designs, delivers, produces and sustains materiel capabilities.”The acknowledgement that new manufacturing techniques will be an important part of the military’s future is significant. The Army has been historically conservative with the useof new manufacturing methods but because of these new directives, we are now seeing more openness for using additive. The combination of understanding our customers’ stringent requirements and our ability to develop complicated,additive-enabled engineered solutions positions Moog well to servethe Military’s future demands.
Moog predicted additive manufacturing would be an important technology in the aerospace and defense industry. That vision isbecoming a reality with new advanced technologies like hypersonicmissiles that require innovative solutions to solve packaging, thermal and weight requirements. The advantages LPBF metal additive provides is well suited for these technical challenges. Furthermore, Moog anticipates additive will be the manufacturing technology of choice because of the flexibility it provides to rapidly develop new design concepts.
Moog’s vision for manufacturing in the present and future will feature metal additive. Our customers in the aerospace and defense sector are expecting Moog to continue its legacy as an innovative partner that provides solutions to their most difficult technical challenges. Additive manufacturing is another tool where our engineers willexpand their ability to fulfill that expectation. The value additive manufacturing provides is what we knew all along;it allowstheability to meet performance requirements that cannotbe solved traditionally. We expect our expansive knowledge of additive technology tobe a key differentiator for Moog and more importantly for the defense of our nation.