Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space shares breakthrough technology with African NGO partners and entrepreneurs

Airbus Defence and Space’s “ALM with Africa” initiative, launched in partnership with the NGO Songhai, aims to encourage the uptake of sustainable additive layer manufacturing (ALM) technology in Africa

The “ALM with Africa” first pilot phase is launched this week in Porto Novo, Benin, with a comprehensive workshop to identify industrial and training needs with partners

Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM, aka 3D printing) builds a solid, three-dimensional object from a series of layers of material (powder, polymer or metal). Airbus Defence and Space is developing and qualifying ALM for space applications

ALM is used to manufacture parts for a variety of applications: automobile, tooling, drills, pumps, medical devices… This technique uses fewer raw materials, saves energy and generates less waste

Airbus Defence and Space, Europe’s leading space technology company, took its commitment to the “ALM with Africa” initiative a step further this week. The program’s first pilot phase is launched in Porto Novo, Benin, with a comprehensive workshop to open the dialogue between participating parties and identify industrial and training needs. Sustainable development NGO based in Benin Songhai, is the key partner in this project. The aim of the “ALM with Africa” initiative is to encourage the uptake of affordable, autonomous, and sustainable additive layer manufacturing (ALM) technology by SMEs, NGOs and universities in Africa.

Discussions in Porto Novo will focus on learning when, and how, ALM is most suited for parts manufacturing and identifying the training and technology transfer requirements to build capability and capacity within the African entrepreneur community.

Christian Désagulier, “ALM with Africa” Project leader at Airbus Defence and Space said: “We are always looking at bringing new players into space - and thanks to “ALM with Africa”, we will see new technologies being used and new suppliers emerging ready to meet the needs of the industry. Much more than simple corporate citizenship, the “ALM with Africa” initiative is also in line with European Union green manufacturing directives and European Space Agency (ESA)’s Clean Space sustainability objectives. We look forward to working more closely with our African partners.”

Rev. Godfrey Nzamujo, Director of Songhai, added, “Songhai’s ambition is to promote economic development in Africa with a focus on sustainable socio-economic entrepreneurship.  We believe that poverty will only be eradicated when we embark on broad-based, inclusive development initiatives. Our partnership with Airbus Defence and Space will help build capability and capacity, including the appropriate leadership and management skills to boost the creation of wealth in Africa.”

There is significant need for manufacturing and repairing mechanical parts used in a variety of applications: engines, tooling, drills and pumps for water management, compressors for energy use, prosthesis for the health sector. Individual parts can be designed and produced quickly and affordably; easily replicated as required.

Parts for the space sector, in particular launchers, could also be ordered after a clear assessment of skills, quality and cost criteria compliant with Airbus Defence and Space’s specifications and quality assurance requirements.

Additive Layer Manufacturing is particularly appropriate for developing economies and as an eco-efficient manufacturing process. This technology meets the UN’s Millennium Development Goals to ensure environmental sustainability and develop global partnerships for development.

Airbus Defence and Space will pursue this initiative and work on raising funds to implement the upcoming phases: education and training, building capacity, and industrialization. The company aims to support its African partners in providing training, materials, and the appropriate ALM machines.


About Songhai

Songhai is an NGO created in 1985 to encourage economic development in Africa based on sustainable socio-economic entrepreneurship and capacity building.  Songhai is a centre for training, production, and research.



Airbus Defence and SpaceAbout Airbus Defence and Space

Together, pioneering excellence

Airbus Defence and Space is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the third in the world. It is the only global company that covers the full range of civil and defence space systems, equipment and services.

In 2012, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover over €5.8 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide.

Its three business units are: Airbus Defence and Space, the European prime contractor for launchers, orbital systems and space exploration; Airbus Defence and Space, a leading provider of satellite system solutions, including spacecraft, ground segments, payloads and equipments; Airbus Defence and Space, the Space services partner for critical missions, providing comprehensive fixed and mobile solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, and bespoke geo-information services, worldwide.

Airbus Defence and Space is a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2012, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of €56.5 billion and employed a workforce of over 140,000.


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Airbus Defence and Space