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

Thales supports Morocco’s ambition to progress in the aerospace sector and is inaugurating its industrial Competence Centre in Casablanca, specialising in metal additive manufacturing, also known as metal 3D printing. This plant will become a platform allowing the international requirements of the Group and its customers to be met.

This industrial Competence Centre forms part of the Industrial Acceleration Plan 2014 to 2020, supported by the Kingdom of Morocco, which supports the development of an innovative ecosystem involving Thales and its local suppliers, including the creation of a high-tech industrial competence centre.

Spread across an area of 1000 m2, in the Midparc zone in Casablanca, this industrial Competence Centre will eventually employ around twenty engineers and technicians. It 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 qse series will be produced using aluminium and titanium, widely used in the aerospace sector. In the medium-term, Thales is planning to acquire 10 machines.

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, which specialises in 3D printing, is fully in line with the digital transformation of Thales and will provide a genuine global centre of expertise, from which Morocco will be the first to benefit.