Additive manufacturing promises to improve complex system manufacturing and fabrication by decreasing the number of parts and manufacturing operations, while also decreasing wastage. Great strides have been taken from a materials standpoint for component printing, however materials with greater functionality are less mature.
Within BAE Systems - Air, we currently have an active additive manufacturing business producing flight test approved parts, but are also looking to the future of what could be achieved with multifunctional materials and additive manufacturing processes. Embedded sensors, antennas, graded electrical properties for lenses and meta-materials are all active streams of research and development. This presentation sets out some of the work we are currently undertaking and directions we hope to see additive manufacturing processes and materials move into in the future, to allow functional and smart component fabrication.