Sonaca prints out aircraft and spacecraft components in 3D


As from 2017 the Belgian aviation company Sonaca will start printing out titanium aviation and spacecraft components in 3D. In time the company from Gosselies aims to become market leader in this innovative area, whilst also creating new jobs.

In partnership with the French joint venture Fives-Michelin Additive Solutions (FMAS) the Belgian company Sonaca will print out titanium air and spacecraft components in 3D. This new production technology is currently advancing fast and seems to be leaving older technology behind. “As a company it was essential to become involved, otherwise part of our business was likely to disappear”, explains company director Bernard Delvaux. “We hope to inspire other aerospace companies to become market leaders in the future and to create new jobs.”

Sonaca has been heavily focused on innovation for several years now. Within the framework of the EU research programme Horizon 2020 the company is searching for lighter and cheaper parts for aircraft and spacecraft using internal and open innovation projects. Early this year this approach already started to pay off, when Sonaca, alongside its American partner BRM, received the JEC 2016 World Innovation Award. The company from Gosselies, near Charleroi, views this new partnership with the French venture FMAS as an opportunity for further innovation.

The Sonaca Group's head office is still based in Belgium, but meanwhile it also has production sites in Brazil, Canada, China and Romania. The company employs more than 2,500 staff in total, including 350 engineers. Sonaca follows on from Avions Fairey, commissioned by the Belgian government to build aeroplanes in the 70's. When the parent company Fairey UK ended up in financial difficulties the Belgian government took over Sonaca. Even today the Walloon Region, with authority for regional matters in Wallonia, still holds shares in the company.