Bending the Rules of Manufacturing – Space Forge
Wales has become known for being a spearhead of innovation; as a result, disruptive companies have arisen within the area. Many of these companies are bending the rules of traditional manufacturing processes, meaning revolutionary progress can be made within their chosen sector. A company at the forefront of this movement is Space Forge.
Space Forge is a company based in Cardiff that is ‘transforming return from space to enable revolutionary products, for the benefit of humanity’. The company is one of a few nationally that have recognised the exponential benefits of manufacturing in space. One of the main reasons why space manufacturing is beneficial originates from the lack of gravity. Due to gravity causing buoyancy that then prevents perfect alloying in metals of different densities, transitioning this process into outer space completely removes this issue. Microgravity in space prevents buoyancy and allows perfectly uniform alloy mixing.
Another issue tackled when manufacturing in space is the contamination of processes caused by earths dense and ambient atmosphere. With the pressure in space being 10 trillion times lower than on earth, contaminates are no longer an issue. Additionally, temperature is also a challenge on earth as the extremes of a cryogenic refrigerators and furnaces are hard to maintain. However through leveraging the benefits of space, again this issue is overcome.
Space Forge is pioneering a ‘clean industrial revolution’ through utilising the benefits of space. The company is currently developing fully reusable satellites, designed to manufacture next generation super materials in space. The aim of this is to then return these materials to earth, which can result in a transgression to low carbon technologies. The move to space can also be extremely beneficial for supply chains, allowing them to be extended beyond current global boundaries. Manufacturing can be taken to the next level, without the implications of climate-change pollutants being produced as a by-product. Space Forge believe that ‘the next industrial revolution is not on Earth’. With the laws of nature no longer setting limits, the possibility for innovation is endless. The development of out-of-this-world materials ensures innovators are equipped with the tools needed to develop their ideas beyond the realms of anything we could currently imagine.
‘In-space manufacturing is 10 times as lucrative, thanks to the novel materials and products that can be made in space’s unique microgravity environments’- Rita Selvaggi, Forbes Magazine. The technique of manufacturing in space is perceived to be substantially beneficial for humanity and the progression of production through the superior, novel materials created. Metal alloys, as an example, can combine more effectively and in turn can yield unique products with enhanced structures and properties.
It is exciting to consider the wider impact of these manufacturing techniques and the role such new materials and processes will play in product design and engineering. It is likely that future opportunities will emerge as a direct result of the ground-breaking work Space Forge are realising. If you share our enthusiasm, you can read more by visiting: https://www.spaceforge.co.uk/