• Status: Live
  • Funder: Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK
  • Project costs: £13,304,769
  • Funded value: £7,042,370
  • Funding period: March 2015 – November 2017
  • Organisations: GKN Aerospace Services Ltd, Delcam Ltd, Renishaw PLC, University of Sheffield, University of Warwick

Horizon (AM) is an initiative by a consortium of leading UK companies proposing to take 3D printing or Additive Manufacturing (AM) from a set of useful prototyping tools to a viable direct production method for advanced aerospace components. The group will be developing various novel manufacturing approaches to enable the production of highly complex lightweight aircraft parts using advanced production systems that print parts layer by layer from metal powders and plastic filaments.

The work will first impact on the current high costs and waste involved in conventional aircraft manufacturing by printing near net shape parts directly in order to reduce the amount of labour-intensive and wasteful machining normally used to produce parts. Having established viable methods to produce flying components manufactured in this way the aim is to exploit the high geometric complexity and multi-material capability of these manufacturing methods in order to realise advanced aircraft components for the next generation of aircraft, thereby establishing the UK at the forefront of aerospace design and manufacturing.