Collins Aerospace broke ground last week on a $14 million expansion of its additive manufacturing center in West Des Moines.
The 9,000-square-foot expansion will allow Collins to make room for more 3D metal printers, in addition to the three it already has onsite. The first new printer will have eight times the build volume of the existing printers and Collins expects it to be fully operational in late 2023.
Collins’ 41,000-square-foot West Des Moines produces fuel nozzles for commercial and military aircraft. The company will use the new machines to enhance current production capabilities and expand the portfolio of metals it can use to additively produce engine components at the site.
“With this expansion, we will significantly increase our additive manufacturing capacity and enhance our ability to produce more parts faster for our airframe and engine customers,” said Renee Begley, West Des Moines site lead for Collins Aerospace. “Compared to traditional manufacturing, additive offers several key benefits as the optimized designs not only reduce cost but can also reduce delivery lead times dramatically. Additive also allows us to produce parts that are much lighter, enabling reduced aircraft fuel consumption and reduced carbon emissions—a key to more sustainable flight.”
Additive manufacturing is a large area of focus for Collins. In June, the company opened a new additive manufacturing center at its campus in Monroe, North Carolina. Collins maintains a global network of additive production centers in Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina and Singapore, and an additive research center in Connecticut.