Over the past decade, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) — the world’s leading manufacturer of defense and civilian unmanned aerial systems (UAS) — has been introducing additive manufacturing (AM) into its process and product incrementally, but decisively. Today, GA-ASI uses industrial AM on several of its UAS platforms, including its most recent certified SkyGuardian platform. As many other industrial AM users are experiencing, while AM offers many benefits and is praised for its transformative nature, AM can also present multiple challenges in its implementation beyond the usual prototyping applications. Recurring production using industrial AM is key to the growth of the AM industry. This presentation will share some of the “dirty sides” (a.k.a. challenges) of implementing AM at an industrial level, and share GA-ASI’s insights and experience into its AM journey. Topics such as AM ecosystem establishment, AM application development strategies, AM process qualification, AM operational structure, AM part industrialization process and quality controls and many other AM-related topics common in the industry will be discussed.
- Have a framework example and tangible examples to support industrial AM implementation in the defense/aviation/aerospace industry
- Have the perspective of an industrial AM user and insights into business-viable applications