Aerospace 'factory of the future' centers on largest metal 3D printer

July 01, 2021 // By Rich Pell
Aerospace 'factory of the future' centers on largest metal 3D printer
Aerospace 3D-printing manufacturing company Relativity Space, the first company to 3D print an entire rocket, has announced a major expansion of its operations with the signing of a new, 1 million square foot headquarters factory in Long Beach, California.

As a 93-acre former Boeing C-17 manufacturing plant, the new Relativity headquarters, designed in collaboration with architecture design firm Gensler, is one of the largest headquarters in the private space industry, says the company. The new facility will have capacity for 2,000+ employees, metallurgical laboratory, direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) printers, mission control center, as well as dozens of the company’s proprietary Stargate 3D printers - the largest metal 3D printers in the world.

With software changes, the Stargate printers are capable of printing both Terran 1 , the world’s first entirely 3D printed launch vehicle, and its fully reusable, entirely 3D printed rocket, Terran R. With this expansion, says the the company, it is doubling down on its Factory of the Future, which is centered on its Stargate 3D printers.

Through collaboration between humans and machines, the new factory fuses 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and autonomous robotics. Disrupting 60 years of aerospace, says the company, its radically simplified supply chain enables it to print its rockets with 100x fewer parts in less than 60 days.

Incorporating AI-driven controls, the Stargate 3D printers are designed to continuously optimize production, resulting in exponentially compounded quality and time improvements, lower costs, and product designs not possible in traditional aerospace manufacturing.

"Relativity is at the forefront of an inevitable shift to software-driven manufacturing," says said Tim Ellis, CEO and co-founder of Relativity," and the opportunity to reimagine this facility for the future of aerospace is incredibly exciting. Securing this space for Relativity Headquarters, which is now one of the largest facilities in private space, right here in Long Beach, is key for scaling out our Terran R program, while also continuing to tap into the unparalleled talent here to join us on our mission.”

The company’s existing Long Beach facility will continue to be utilized for Terran 1 production. The company says it is on track for the launch of Terran 1 later


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