Boeing is going to produce 3D printed modular satellites


2017-02-22 14:00:06




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Boeing is going to produce 3D printed modular satellites

The Boeing Company is known not only for its aircraft, but its high-tech satellites, the price of each of which may reach $ 150 million. However, in the foreseeable future this may change. The fact that private American aerospace Corporation plans to adopt the new practice of using modular 3D-printed parts and to increase the level of automation in their companies. This publication reports The Wall Street Journal referring to the sources.

The Current production, which often applies a customized manual Assembly is very expensive not only to the company but also end customers, so Boeing built satellites over the past year, you can count literally on the fingers of one hand. In an interview with WSJ's head of production satellite technology Boeing Paul Rusnock said that the company is no longer able to continue if it wants to remain competitive in this field.

Other companies are producing more compact and cheaper satellites already use in their practice the Assembly of the modular components that reduce manufacturing cost and increase profitability. For example, Airbus and startup OneWeb (the company whose creation was funded by Virgin and Qualcomm), we now build an automated line in Florida, USA. Based on it soon will be possible to produce compact satellites cost only about $ 500,000.

It is Unlikely that Boeing will be able to achieve the same level of productivity as the company mainly produces large satellites, but the adaptation of a new method of production will produce a lot more units than now. According to Rasnake to reduce production time and cost to the company is not worth any obstacles. The ultimate goal is to achieve the level of production efficiency that is comparable to the performance of its divisions involved in aircraft Assembly, where the Assembly of one whole Boeing 737 from scratch takes only 11 days.

Private aerospace Corporation has already started the integration of 3D printing technology in some of its production lines at the factory in Los Angeles. Now discusses the use of such technologies in a variety of commercial projects.

Probably, the main disadvantage of satellites, collected by the modular method is that the time of their work, usually limited to 7-8 years, which is half of 15-year index the high-tech units collected in traditional ways. But in the end, it may not be that big a problem. Customers now are looking for ways to be more frequent launches of new satellites with updated technologies. A modular and cheaper versions are just ready to provide that opportunity.

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