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3D Systems Partners with Fleet Space Technologies to Enable Production of Patch Antennas for Next Generation Satellites

07/21/2022
  • 3D Systems’ Application Innovation Group assisted with process development, bridge production, technology transfer of additively manufactured radio frequency (RF) patch antennas for small satellite applications
  • Delivery of DMP Flex 350 enables Fleet Space Technologies to bring antenna production in-house for 140 Alpha satellite constellation

ROCK HILL, South Carolina, July 21, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced a new collaboration with Fleet Space Technologies which has led to the production of innovative RF patch antennas for use on their Alpha satellite constellation. The combination of Fleet Space Technologies’ unique design along with the expertise of 3D Systems’ Application Innovation Group (AIG) allowed them to architect a complete additive manufacturing solution – which includes process development and bridge production on its DMP Flex 350 – enabling the companies to move from Fleet Space’s existing RF patch design to small batch production in just three weeks. Fleet Space Technologies is bringing a DMP Flex 350 printer into service at their headquarters in Beverley, Adelaide allowing the company to bring production of its patch antennas in-house. The printer will be used to create RF patch antennas for each of the Alpha satellites operating in a constellation in low earth orbit as part of Fleet Space Technologies’ ExoSphere initiative for mining exploration with minimal environmental impact.

Fleet Space Technologies’ engineering team designed the antenna to meet size, weight, and performance requirements while minimizing the need for post-processing. The team knew that the only way the geometry of this patch antenna design could be realized is through additive manufacturing. 3D Systems’ AIG developed print processes to produce the antenna on its DMP Flex 350 printer in two different materials - LaserForm AlSi10Mg and Al6061-RAM2. The unique vacuum chamber architecture of the DMP Flex 350, which maintains a low oxygen environment (<25 ppm), was critical. Not only is argon gas consumption heavily reduced, but the vacuum chamber architecture also produces a good surface finish with fine feature detail which minimizes signal losses. Additionally, the DMP Flex 350 also includes 3DXpert® software which supports every step of the additive manufacturing workflow from design to post-processing, to quickly and efficiently transition from a 3D model to successfully printed parts. The team is able to achieve fast and cost-effective production of 55 RF patch antennas per build on the DMP Flex 350. Having the DMP Flex 350 solution on-site will also provide Fleet Space Technologies with the ability to additively manufacture structural components that were not previously available.

“Our work with Fleet Space Technologies is yet another example of how 3D Systems helps our aerospace customers accelerate innovation and de-risk their additive manufacturing application development,” said Dr. Michael Shepard, vice president, aerospace & defense segment, 3D Systems. “We do this by partnering with customers to provide an application solution with the right hardware, materials, software, and services for their needs. In this case, we’ve been able to help Fleet Space Technologies bring a qualified production process for their satellite hardware in-house in a very short amount of time.”

Fleet’s Alpha constellation represents a significant leap forward in our mission to unlock the potential of truly global connectivity, in doing so creating global benefits for applications like making the search for critical minerals more sustainable and viable,” said Flavia Tata Nardini, founder and CEO, Fleet Space Technologies. “To achieve this, we constantly strive to find more ways to manufacture our technology to deliver exceptional quality at scale and in a way that is economically viable. Together with 3D Systems’ AIG, we are unlocking the remarkable potential of additive manufacturing at our world-class facility in Adelaide, South Australia. This technology will enable our people to create the production processes that will deliver on Fleet’s ambition to launch more than 140 low earth orbit satellites in the Alpha constellation.” 

Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements made in this release that are not statements of historical or current facts are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the company to be materially different from historical results or from any future results or projections expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. In many cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by terms such as "believes," "belief," "expects," "may," "will," "estimates," "intends," "anticipates" or "plans" or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are based upon management’s beliefs, assumptions, and current expectations and may include comments as to the company’s beliefs and expectations as to future events and trends affecting its business and are necessarily subject to uncertainties, many of which are outside the control of the company. The factors described under the headings "Forward-Looking Statements" and "Risk Factors" in the company’s periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as other factors, could cause actual results to differ materially from those reflected or predicted in forward-looking statements. Although management believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, forward-looking statements are not, and should not be relied upon as a guarantee of future performance or results, nor will they necessarily prove to be accurate indications of the times at which such performance or results will be achieved. The forward-looking statements included are made only as of the date of the statement. 3D Systems undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements made by management or on its behalf, whether as a result of future developments, subsequent events or circumstances or otherwise, except as required by law.

About 3D Systems
More than 30 years ago, 3D Systems brought the innovation of 3D printing to the manufacturing industry. Today, as the leading additive manufacturing solutions partner, we bring innovation, performance, and reliability to every interaction - empowering our customers to create products and business models never before possible. Thanks to our unique offering of hardware, software, materials, and services, each application-specific solution is powered by the expertise of our application engineers who collaborate with customers to transform how they deliver their products and services. 3D Systems’ solutions address a variety of advanced applications in healthcare and industrial markets such as medical and dental, aerospace & defense, automotive, and durable goods. More information on the company is available at www.3dsystems.com.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/c23629f0-c84e-4914-bd71-19673ee70af0


Investor Contact: investor.relations@3dsystems.com
Media Contact: press@3dsystems.com

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Radio frequency (RF) patch antennas were printed by 3D Systems’ Application Innovation Group in both LaserForm AlSi10Mg and A6061-RAM2 materials for Fleet Space Technologies’ Alpha satellites.
Source: 3D Systems Inc.

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