Aerospace tooling systems provider Ascent Aerospace announced last week that the company made a recent investment in a Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) machine from Thermwood Corporation, a 3D printing technology leader.
Ascent Aerospace describes the move as in line with aerospace tooling industry trends, citing the accelerated usage of 3D printing in this sector. The company’s investment is part of its strategy to leverage its expertise in tooling to commercialize production ready additive solutions.
Ascent will be utilizing the LSAM machine as a new tooling option for its customers, speeding the time to market for tools such as layup molds, masters, trimming/drilling fixtures and vacuum holding fixtures. The LSAM machine will be co-located with Ascent's composite tooling shop, autoclave and clean room in Santa Ana, California. Ascent plans to pass on the time and cost savings to its global customers.
An advantage of the LSAM machine is the wide variety of compatible materials, such as ABS, Polycarbonate, Nylon and PESU resins with reinforcing compounds. Ascent anticipates the ability to expand its offerings and increase efficiencies as composite tooling technology lead-times are considerably shorter than that of a traditional metallic tool.
"Our investment in the LSAM represents the next milestone in Ascent's multi-year technology roadmap and realization of expansive efforts studying the benefits of additive manufacturing within the aerospace tooling market."
In a statement, Michael Mahfet, the CEO of Ascent Aerospace, said, "Our investment in the LSAM represents the next milestone in Ascent's multi-year technology roadmap and realization of expansive efforts studying the benefits of additive manufacturing within the aerospace tooling market. This capability positions us to remain the leader in new and innovative tooling solutions, supporting strong collaboration with our customers and supplementing our in-house, vertically integrated design and fabrication capabilities."