Thales Alenia Space Partners with Swissto12 to 3D Print Waveguide Solutions for Spacecrafts

Thales Alenia Space has signed an agreement with SWISSto12, to jointly work and innovate for the setting up of a novel supply chain of spacecraft waveguides. The products will be manufactured by SWISSto12 based on Thales Alenia Space design and SWISSto12 proprietary Additive Manufacturing and surface treatment technologies that have now reached space qualification maturity.

Thales Alenia Space will be amongst the first satellite integrators to benefit from this novel technology as well as a digitalization approach that both partners are setting up to enable disruptively low lead-times, manufacturing flexibility and competitiveness for high quantities of custom designed waveguides.

SWISSto12 SA is an innovative technology company that spun off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (Switzerland). The company pioneers the development and industrial supply of Radio-Frequency (RF) antenna, waveguide and filter products based on Additive Manufacturing (also known as 3D printing). The company’s current focus is on the aerospace market where the performance, lead-time and weight advantages of its technology are paramount.

Its products are first designed with an extended freedom offered by the technology. This offers the opportunity to design products in a novel way that contributes to enhancing their performance. Once a design is fixed, the products are 3D printed out of advanced polymers or lightweight metals before being surface treated and metal plated using a proprietary technology.

These later steps are of key importance to ensure high RF performance of the printed products. After these manufacturing steps, SWISSto12 tests its products, which have now reached qualification maturity for the aerospace market.