A French manufacturer of mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems has recently started to use Stratasys printers to produce prototype and short-run component parts. Survey Copter is a subsidiary of one of Europe’s biggest defense company’s EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company), and they specialize in the design, production and integration of remote systems for surveillance video and photography for UAVs.
Survey Copters drones include UAVs (helicopters, fixed wing and blimps) which can operate in critical and severe environments; over sea, air or over ground for over 300 civilian applications, as well as the obvious security, police and military applications.
They have brought their prototyping in-house with the purchase of a Stratasys Dimension Elite 3D Printer and a Fortus 400mc 3D Production System, which is able to print using nine different thermoplastics.
“Effectively meeting our 3D printing needs can only be achieved via machines that are capable of producing quality parts with high reliability,” commented Jean Marc Masenelli, managing director, Survey Copter. “Stratasys’ reputation for delivering 3D printers that meet these criteria head-on made them the logical company to partner with.”
The Stratasys 3D printers are used to produce components for their mini-UAV systems, which include helicopter and fixed wing variants. The components produced include structures for optical turrets, structural aircraft parts, battery compartments, supporting structures as well as scale models.
The material solutions that Stratasys printers offer are particularly suited to this application as their ULTEM 9085 material is qualified for aerospace applications, as well as having high strength and lightweight properties.
“The Stratasys 3D Printer can produce parts with complex shapes – for us a highly sought after requirement and a principle differentiator that sets Stratasys’ proposition apart from that of other providers,” Jean Marc adds. “This specific capability enables us to produce parts of wide-ranging dimensions and hollow forms, as well as full honeycomb structures.”