The Monash University-led team who 3D-printed a jet engine last year on 8 November announced a new venture for manufacturing aerospace components in France.

Melbourne-based Amaero Engineering – a spin-out company from Monash’s innovation cluster – has signed an agreement to print turbojet components for Safran, the French-based global aerospace and defence company. The collaborative agreement is between Monash, Amaero and Safran Power Units.

“Our new facility will be embedded within the Safran Power Units factory in Toulouse and will make components for Safran’s auxiliary power units and turbojet engines,” said Barrie Finnin, CEO of Amaero.

The world’s first 3D-printed jet engine was revealed at the 2015 Melbourne International Airshow. Safran, Monash University and Amaero, in collaboration with Deakin University and the CSIRO, took a Safran gas turbine power unit from a Falcon executive jet, scanned it and created two copies using customised 3D metal printers, as part of a project supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF). This research is now being extended through the support of Australian Research Council’s (ARC) strategic initiative ‘Industry Transformation Research Hub’ and industrial partners including Safran and Amaero.

“We proved that our team were world-leaders,” said Professor Xinhua Wu, Director of the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing. “I’m delighted to see our technology leap from the laboratory to a factory at the heart of Europe’s aerospace industry.”

Amaero will establish a new manufacturing facility on the Safran Power Units site in Toulouse using the 3D printing technology known as selective laser melting (SLM). Amaero will bring the know-how and intellectual property developed in partnership with Monash, and will also relocate two of the large printers they have customised for this precise manufacturing task.

Safran Power Units will test and validate the components the team makes, and then the factory will enter serial production, producing components that Safran Power Units will post-process, machine and assemble into auxiliary power units and turbojet engines for commercial and defence use. The project team expect that production will commence in the first quarter of 2017.

Professor Ian Smith, Vice Provost (Research and Research Infrastructure) at Monash, said the Amaero-Safran agreement is an excellent example of the University’s exceptional research having commercial impact on a global scale.

“I am delighted that Monash is contributing to global innovation and attracting business investment with our world-class research. The Amaero-Safran collaboration is a fabulous example of how universities and industry can link together to translate research into real commercial outcomes.

“The new venture is part of Monash University’s large-scale investment in innovation on our Clayton campus, which brings together a dynamic cluster of research, research infrastructure and industry partners. Collectively we and our industry collaborators are driving technological change and advancing manufacturing – delivering real social and economic impact.”

François Tarel, CEO of Safran Power Units, added: “Over the past five years, Safran Power Units and Monash University have successfully worked on a demonstration phase. Innovations generated by research and joint collaboration lead us to a new milestone: introducing 3D printing into production stage for major engine parts.”