Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.
On February 24th 2021, aerospace company Orbex of Forres, Scotland announced that it had commissioned AMCM to build what Orbex claimed would be Europe’s largest industrial 3D printer. (Orbex is also the self-appointed “Europe’s leading private launch services company.” AMCM is short for Additive Manufacturing Customized Machines of Starnberg, Germany.) Orbex also announced that it would be expanding its factory floor space by 1,000 square metres to make room for the new machinery. (Orbex’s Forres facility already spans circa 2,000 square metres and was unveiled in February 2019.)
The 3D printer is intended to make parts for Orbex’s launch vehicle via a custom blend of metals including aluminium and titanium. Named Prime, it is designed to deliver small satellites into polar orbits around the Earth. (On March 24th, Orbex announced that it had been awarded €7.45 million by the European Space Agency to support Prime’s development.) Furthermore, Orbex boasted that Prime was designed to be re-usable, leave no debris while in orbit around the Earth, and be powered by bio-propane, which Orbex described as “a clean-burning, renewable fuel which reduces CO2 emissions by 90% compared to kerosene-based fuels.”
In August 2020, Orbex was granted planning permission for its home spaceport in Sutherland’s A’Mhoine peninsula. It proclaimed that this was the only spaceport in the UK to receive planning permission, and that construction on it was expected to begin somewhen in 2021, with the first orbital launch expected in 2022.
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