World-first in manufacturing for Brisbane defence contractor

Ferra Engineering, an award-winning Brisbane aerospace contractor, has plans to lead the world and use 3D manufacturing in a large-scale, commercial operation, reports the Australian Financial Review.

Ferra Engineering, an award-winning Brisbane aerospace contractor, has plans to lead the world and use 3D manufacturing in a large-scale, commercial operation, reports the Australian Financial Review.

Ferra, who specialise in High Precision Metal Component Manufacturing, and whose list of clients includes Boeing and Airbus, has a $200 million agreement with Lockheed Martin to make  titanium components for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

“The direct manufacturing method we will use will allow us to make parts more efficiently,” Mark Scherrer, Ferra’s CEO and owner, told the AFR.

“I think we will be the first in the world and not just in Australia to apply this technology in aerospace.”

3D (or additive) manufacturing involves layering of plastic or metal using lasers or ion beams and has been limited in its use so far due to expensiveness. However, it’s well suited to the JSF project due to the complexity involved.

“This technique allows the possibility for Australia to get back into some parts of high-value manufacturing,” said David Charles, chairman of the Automotive Industry Innovation Authority.

3D manufacturing allows Ferra to make parts in batches of one. It’s being touted by some as another industrial revolution, with the potential to do great things for the Australian manufacturing sector.