Marrakesh. 10 December, 2015.  Thales has given the official go-ahead for the creation of a new industrial competence centre specialising in metal additive manufacturing (3D printing) in Casablanca. The initiative is part of Thales’s broader cooperation with Morocco.

 This project is fully in line with the 2014-2020 Industrial Acceleration Plan launched by the Moroccan authorities, which supports the development of an innovative ecosystem involving Thales and its local suppliers. The creation of a high-tech industrial competence centre is one of three main areas of cooperation between Thales and Morocco.

 With additive manufacturing, components can be produced with more complex internal structures than is possible with conventional processes, and time to market is also shorter. The 3D printing technology adopted by Thales involves melting successive layers of metal alloy powders using a high-intensity laser beam.

 Thales Group will next year will start a competence centre for metal 3D printing, the construction of which will begin on a new industrial competence center for metal 3D printing in Morocco. The center is expected to be fully operational by 2018, and will significantly drive Morocco’s aerospace manufacturing capabilities forward.

“This project consolidates Morocco’s position as a key industrial platform, expanding our aerospace ecosystem to include a new technology that will undoubtedly shape the future of the aerospace industry,” said Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Morocco’s Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy.

The Thales Group, which has a presence on every continent besides Antarctica, has been increasing its presence in international aerospace industries lately. Thales Alenia Space recently constructed 3D printed antenna supports for a pair of Korean satellites; the supports were the largest 3D printed parts ever made in Europe. Globally, a staggering two thirds of all aircraft that take off and land each day utilize Thales equipment. The industrial competence center in Morocco will be a point of pride not only for the country, but for Thales itself.

“This competence centre will give us access to a highly capable ecosystem of industrial suppliers specialising in mechanical parts; helping us meet all our requirements in terms of material, performance and reproducibility for the aerospace and space markets,” said Pierre Prigent, country director of Thales Morocco.

The company’s presence in Morocco will not be limited to the new competence center; Thales has been working periodically with the country’s industrial sector for the last ten years. The new project is only one of three partnerships with Moroccan authorities to further drive production and help to implement the Industrial Acceleration Plan over the remainder of the decade.