Babcock International has opened a new state-of-the-art Additive Manufacturing centre as part of a new partnership with Plymouth Science Park (PSP).
The facility will allow the aerospace, defence and security company to ramp up its advanced technology capabilities to address critical needs across the engineering and defence support industry and will include the development of a digital and data skills programme in collaboration with PSP.
The facility will enable the company to direct print metal parts for the first time as it needs them, increasing efficiency and sustainability.
The centre was launched at an industry event and was attended by other technology collaborators including Kingsbury, Renishaw, AMFG and GOM.
Local MP, Johnny Mercer was invited to view the facility and switched on the first printing machine. He said: “Really delighted to open the new Additive Manufacturing centre and see real innovation being delivered, right here in Plymouth, as part of this new partnership between Babcock and Plymouth Science Park.
“The advanced technologies and research that will be carried out at the centre will go beyond Plymouth I’m sure, and undoubtedly benefit some of our most critical areas, such as defence and health.”
The partnership builds on Babcock’s strong relationship with the academic and technology community across the South West, and the local community around Babcock’s Devonport dockyard. Recent initiatives include a polymer manufacturing capability which produced personal protective equipment for the local air ambulance service during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Babcock, a proud Patron of the Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, will use PSP’s new facility to expand its capabilities in additive methods, such as direct metal laser sintering, which enables high priority parts to be produced by a 3-D printer, and as a training facility to strengthen its expertise in digital and data technologies.
Dr Jon Hall, Chief Innovation and Technology Officer for Babcock, said: “This collaboration will accelerate Babcock’s R&D and real-world application of additive technologies. It provides a step change in how we’re advancing our own expertise and our partnerships to benefit our customers and the communities we operate in.
“The challenge of obsolescence and support chain resilience is key for engineering businesses. That’s especially true for Babcock where we maintain complex and critical equipment over long lifecycles.
“Having a manufacturing capability that allows us to direct print what we need, when we need it, in direct collaboration with our customers, means we will be able to create parts at scale, in a more efficient and sustainable way – wherever there is a demand, in any part of our business.
“Partnerships are fundamentally important to the work we do at Babcock – because when we collaborate we can make a real difference in solving some of the biggest challenges facing us today, and we’re really excited about the benefits this partnership can bring, to Babcock, our customers and of course, our people.”
Ian McFazden, Chief Executive of PSP, said: “We are proud to work with companies and individuals who are leading the way in solving some of the world’s most urgent needs. We are delighted to be expanding our work in the advanced engineering, defence and security sectors through a new and innovative partnership with Babcock.
“Babcock will be the first company to use our new additive manufacturing facilities to strengthen their engineering and technical expertise in digital and data technologies, and through the partnership we will ensure engineers and apprentices develop new digital and data skills to enhance innovation adoption and increase productivity in the region.”