Collins Aerospace has officially started construction on the $14m expansion of its additive manufacturing facility in West Des Moines, Iowa, US. 

The 9,000ft² expansion will provide additional space to accommodate more 3D metal printers, in addition to the three systems already available on-site.

According to Collins Aerospace, the first new printer will provide around eight times the build volume of the existing printers.

It is expected to be fully operational towards the end of next year.

Collins Aerospace West Des Moines site lead Renee Begley said: “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.

“Compared to traditional manufacturing, additive offers several key benefits as the optimised designs not only reduce cost but can also reduce delivery lead times dramatically.

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“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.”

Collins’ 41,000ft² West Des Moines centre primarily focuses on the design and production of fuel nozzles for military and commercial aircraft.

The expansion of this centre will allow Collins to use new machines and enhance existing production capabilities.

This will further expand the company’s portfolio of metals, that can be used for engine components production at the site.

The company has additive manufacturing centres in Minnesota, Iowa, North Carolina and Singapore, along with an additive research centre in Connecticut, US.

In June 2022, the company opened a new additive manufacturing facility at its campus in Monroe, North Carolina, to support the production of different systems for next-generation aircraft.