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Lockheed Martin extends additive manufacturing to key spacecraft components

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 22, 2018 issue of SpaceNews magazine.

Lockheed Martin’s Additive Design and Manufacturing Center in Sunnyvale, California, where the company produces military, commercial and civil space technology, attained a comprehensive safety certification.

“We are the first UL certified additive manufacturing facility in the world,” Servando Cuellar, Lockheed Martin Space Systems engineering senior manager, told SpaceNews.

UL, a safety consulting, education and inspection firm based in Northbrook, Illinois, published the additive manufacturing safety standard, UL 3400, in 2017. It is designed to help additive manufacturers meet regulatory requirements and standards, while addressing risks related to 3D printing materials, equipment and production.

To obtain UL certification, an organization must show all additive manufacturing equipment in a facility has been certified or evaluated by a third party and conduct extensive workforce training focused on additive manufacturing process safety as well as the identification and management of machines, materials and hazards. In addition, organizations seeking the new certification must monitor facilities to ensure safety management practices remain in force.

Lockheed Martin’s Additive Design and Manufacturing Center, a 629-square-meter facility, opened for business Sept. 17. The company created the facility to bridge the gap between materials research and manufacturing, and produce satellite components more quickly and at lower cost, Cuellar said.

“It’s a pretty amazing technology,” he said. “I don’t think we understand the limitations or all the possibilities.”

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