Thales launches a global centre of expertise in Morocco specializing in metal additive manufacturing

On Thursday 07 September 2017 the French group Thales inaugurated its Industrial Competence Centre at the Midparc in Nouaceur, specialised in metal additive manufacturing (3D printing).

The opening ceremony of this new industrial production unit was presided over by Mr Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Minister of Industry, Investment, Trade and the Digital Economy, Pierre Prigent, Director of Thales in Morocco, and Philippe Chamoret, Vice President of Industry of the Thales Group.

The industrial competence centre forms part of the Industrial Acceleration Plan 2014-2020 which supports the development of an innovative ecosystem involving Thales and its local suppliers, including the creation of a high tech industrial competence centre. Covering an area of 1000 m² in the Midparc zone in Casablanca, this industrial competence centre will eventually employ around twenty engineers and technicians. It is currently equipped with two so-called selective laser melting technology machines. This technique, which involves fusing metal alloy powders using a high-intensity laser, is used to manufacture metal parts of unrivalled complexity, which cannot be manufactured using current technologies. This technique takes account of the constraints of traditional manufacturing while reducing the number of parts used and making them lighter. The production of the first series will use aluminium and titanium, commonly used in the aerospace industry. Thales foresees acquiring 8 additional machines in the medium term.

Speaking on this occasion, the Minister Mr Elalamy asserted that "with this new project, which accompanies the move upmarket of Moroccan industry and the creation of highly specialized jobs in the country, Thales introduces to Morocco a technology of the future and a skill with high added value". "It is a source of pride and an impressive achievement for the Moroccan industrial sector" added the Minister.

For his part, Pierre Prigent stated: "With the existing aeronautical subcontracting ecosystem, Morocco has all the assets to become Thales' global centre of expertise in 3D printing. The use of a secure digital platform gives the Industrial Competence Centre the latest innovations in terms of connected industry and the smart factory and will improve the competitiveness of the solutions offered to our customers.

The "Industry 4.0" approach initiated by the Thales Centre of Competence increases the effectiveness of the production machinery. This leads to improved production, at a lower cost and in a more environmentally friendly way. It offers a new way of handling production through smart systems used to collect, store, manage and analyse thousands of items of information from their sensors. This Competence Centre, which specialises in 3D printing, is fully in line with the digital transformation of Thales and will provide a genuine global centre of expertise, from which Morocco will be the first to benefit.

Thales is the world leader in high technology for the aerospace, transport, defence and security markets and is present in 56 countries. With more than 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales creates and deploys equipment, systems and services to meet the most complex security needs.