Additive Manufacturing Facility Revolutionizes SWaP for Next-Generation System Design

The dedicated 3D printing laboratory supports CAES’ partnership with SWISSto12 to allow aerospace and defense system manufacturers to accelerate production, cut costs and improve performance By DA Reporter / 27 Oct 2021
3D printed array

Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions (CAES) has announced the construction of its new additive manufacturing operations in Exeter, New Hampshire, U.S. The dedicated 3D printing laboratory supports CAES’ partnership with SWISSto12, the leading provider of 3D printed technology for Radio Frequency (RF) applications in the aerospace and defense industry, to bring additive manufacturing solutions and services to U.S.-based customers.

Additive Manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, for RF systems is an ideal solution to address increasingly challenging Size, Weight, Power and Cost (SWaP-C) requirements for next generation aerospace and defense platforms. It requires high precision formats and complex geometries that allow form factors and performance that cannot be achieved with standard manufacturing solutions. Integrated subsystems combine multiple components in one single homogeneous part that reduces weight and complexity, a key factor for defense prime manufacturers where cost and space are at a premium. SWISSto12 pioneered the development of tailored, patented and field-proven AM technologies aimed at delivering advanced RF performance, size and weight savings as well as product competitiveness through optimized manufacturing tolerances, surface finishes, plating techniques and RF designs.

“CAES’ investment in Additive Manufacturing is a direct response to our customers’ next-generation design challenges for rugged, ever-smaller, and complex parts,” said Dave Young, Chief Technology Officer, CAES. 

“We are excited to help our customers maintain competitive leadership by delivering high performance, SWaP optimized and mission-ready components.”

The laboratory will consist of dedicated equipment for 3D-printed RF technology design and manufacturing including a qualified laser powder bed fusion machine, associated process support equipment, proprietary metal finishing and plating line, and complete RF testing capability. 

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