Metal-Based 3D Printed Drones: Revolutionizing a Revolutionary Industry

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A new partnership in the world of unmanned aircraft systems or UAS has been announced between Aero Kinetics, a manufacturer of UAS and SLM Solutions NA, a provider of metal-based additive manufacturing technology. This will merge advance 3D metal printing technology to Aero Kinetics most advanced multi-rotor vertical takeoff and land (VTOL) UAS.

“We are thrilled to have SLM on board with our program,” commented W. Hulsey Smith, CEO of Aero Kinetics. “The safety, speed, and quality of SLM’s machines are well suited to produce ultra-lightweight structural components for unmanned aircraft. When coupled with Aero Kinetics’ subject matter expertise in design for additive metal manufacturing, we will reduce weight in our critical structural components. SLM and their technology help us deliver unmanned aircraft to our clients with the most advanced 3D printing technology.” Some manufacturing companies may decide to coat their parts with different types of powder coating textures to help the customer have a better grip on their product, as well as being able to cover up any flaws that have occurred during the process. By doing this, it could potentially add many bonuses to a product.

There are many benefits of 3D printing technology when applied to UAS. Aero Kinetics will now be able to rapidly produce intricate and fully functional aerospace-grade components more easily than ever before. Not only will it hasten production but now it will also increase the life cycle of the products as well as letting the drone operator interchange parts effortlessly. These durable 3D printed metal-based components are key in creating a product that is reliable and affordable.

3D printing has come a long way in recent years and with the market for drones on the rise it’s a perfect partnership. The FAA is currently coming up with regulations for drones use in commercial industries which will ultimately open up a huge market for these UAS. By implementing the use of metal-based 3D printing technology, these new breed of drones will be cut out for the rigorous situations some of these commercial industries will demand from them.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with a leading innovator in the VTOL segment like Aero Kinetics, in attaining FAA certification for parts built on SLM Solutions products,” said James Fendrick, Vice President of Sales & Marketing-NA. “We believe there is true value in proving that our products are capable of manufacturing parts that are flight worthy, and able to pass strict FAA requirements.”

With this great partnership comes a new set of benefits for the drone industry as well as the consumers. As of now, the Chinese based company SZ DJI Technology Co. is the largest consumer drone manufacturer in the world. The new partnership between Aero Kinetics and SLM Solutions NA will open up competition between foreign drone manufactures and with competition comes innovation while also creating a more affordable product. It is going to be exciting to see the new technology that comes out of this partnership.