AM for Defense Industry

Promissing results with additive manufacturing in defense industry

When engineers in the defense industry know how to take advantage of additive manufacturing and use it in a cost-effective way, the degree of succes is huge. Luis Suárez Ríos from the Spanish research institute IDONIAL will talk during the Virtual AM for Defense Conference about how they deploy largce scale 3D printing and bioprinting for applications in the defense industry.


Luis Suárez Ríos has been involved with additive manufacturing since 9 years. Now he works at Idonial, the research institute for the Spanish industry established in 2019 as a result of the merger of the ITMA and PRODINTEC. He is now responsible for the additive manufacturing developments. Idonial is a cross sectional center, the defense industry is one of the targeted sectors.

One of the topics Luis Suárez Rïos and his team is working on, is multi material additive manufacturing, more specific metals and ceramics.

Luis Suarez Ríos.

Luis Suárez Ríos: “We are working in some projects combining metal and ceramic for very specific applications, but from a final product perspective. We integrate both components after printing, not printing both materials at the same time, which would be highly challenging. The point is taking advantage of ceramic properties, namely insulating properties and wear/thermal resistance, when required, but keep a metal frame or base body for the component, in order to withstand structural loads that ceramic cannot support.”

Where is the link with the defense industry?

Luis Suaréz Ríos: “We either develop our own technology, or push commercial technology to the limit by finding those highly restrictive applications that justify the process. That is the framework we feel most comfortable working in. Defense sector is the best example of this operative paradigm: R&D moves fast in this context, and technological readiness level needs to be closer to final applications. Additive manufacturing is the best technology to be explored in this context, since it has moved forward and evolved from research and explorative actions, into stable industrial usage and exploitation. Especially when the people involved in the given application know how to take advantage of it and use it in a cost-effective way. We are well aware of how hard this might be, but also the degree of success that is possible when doing it properly.”

What are the two main topics in your presentation at the Virtal AM for Defense Conference?

Luis Suaréz Ríos:“ I am focusing on new technologies we are working with at IDONIAL, in the frame of additive manufacturing, which can be used in the defense sector. Namely: 3D printing at large scale and bioprinting.”

And what will be the takeaway for the participants?

“I would be very pleased if all attendees working in technological research areas could keep those technologies in mind when thinking about upcoming needs, demands or even raw ideas that could lead to better and faster procedures in the mid-near future.”

The second session of the Virtual AM for Defense Conference will take place on Tuesday November 3th. Speakers will be Stephan Ritt, who will discuss the results of tests Spee3D is doing with the Australian Army; Onno Ponfoort van Berenschot who will discuss certification and Luis Ignacio Suárez-Ríos, Manufacturing Engineer at the Spanish Idonial. He deals with large format 3D printing and bioprinting. Here you can find more information and sign up for the second session.

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