Stratasys Direct Manufacturing has expanded its additive metals offering with the purchase of a Velo3D Inc. Sapphire 3D printing system. Stratasys Direct, in Valencia, will use the machine for printing complex parts. Stratasys Direct Manufacturing is the manufacturing division of Stratasys Ltd., a Minnesota-based maker of 3D printing equipment. The company uses a variety of printers and CNC machines to make assemblies for customers in the aerospace, medical device and industrial markets. Chief Executive Kent Firestone called the Sapphire system an important part in advancing the company’s capabilities to include using additive metals in applications that were previously a challenge to make using a 3D printer. “This is a natural step in building our service portfolio, and we are excited to take on projects with more complexity to drive further adoption of serialized production additive manufacturing and push the boundaries of 3D metal printing,” Firestone said in a statement. Velo3D, in Campbell, designed the Sapphire from the ground up for high volume manufacturing. The printer uses Flow, a software with an integrated simulation engine that ensures predictable print outcomes while significantly reducing print preparation time. “Stratasys Direct Manufacturing is a leader in metal additive manufacturing, advancing critical applications across many industries,” Velo3D Chief Executive Benny Buller said in a statement. “Together, we look forward to pushing the boundaries of what is possible.” Woolsey Fire Drones AeroVironment Inc. was honored last month by the Ventura County branch of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for assisting the National Park Service through use of its Quantix drone to assess damage from the Woolsey Fire. The Simi Valley unmanned aircraft manufacturer received the 2019 IEEE Buenaventura Project of the Year award on March 28. The award recognizes local tech-based initiatives that fit the institute’s “Technology to Advance Humanity” mission statement. Eric Thompson, flight operations manager for AeroVironment, accepted the award on behalf of the company. “AeroVironment has always looked forward to helping out with fires, with hurricanes and multiple natural disasters that may happen,” Thompson said in an interview with the Business Journal. The National Park Service reached out to AeroVironment seeking assistance in capturing data on the extent of the damage of the Woolsey Fire, Thompson said. He led a three-person team in a tight timeframe just before Thanksgiving as bad weather was moving into the area. “We went forward and within 24 hours we were in place to capture the data for them,” Thompson said. The Woolsey Fire broke out south of Simi Valley on Nov. 8 and burned 96,949 acres, jumping the 101 freeway as it blazed south to Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu. Damages were estimated at $4 billion to $6 billion. More than 21,000 acres, or nearly 90 percent of the park service’s property in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, burned in the fire, including the western town at Paramount Ranch. With the Quantix, a four-propeller drone operated by an Android tablet, Thompson and his team used the aircraft’s sensors and camera to measure the health and stress levels that oak trees and other vegetation were in after the fire. They could also monitor the ash piles around the oak trees. “They could do their calculations to see and drive what type of protocols they needed to put in place to help the environment back into proper growth,” Thompson explained. Advanced Manufacturing Awards Northrop Grumman Corp. received Manufacturing Leadership Awards from the National Association of Manufacturers for its aircraft making capabilities at its facility in Palmdale. Northrop, in Falls Church, Va., was recognized for its use of metadata, analytics, and virtual and augmented reality at the site. In Palmdale, the aerospace and defense contractor makes the Global Hawk and MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft for the U.S. Air Force and Navy, respectively and produces the center fuselage for the F-35 Lightning II assembled by Lockheed Martin Corp. Kevin Mitchell, sector vice president of global operations for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, said the company has a long history of making advanced products. “We use a variety of manufacturing techniques to develop the capabilities to support our customer’s toughest missions,” Mitchell said in a statement. Recognized by the association were Northrop’s metadata integration project that uses advanced analytics to mine data; the complex assemblies capability that uses analytics to assemble complex aircraft parts; and the use of virtual and augmented reality and 3D analytics to improve airframe manufacturing. The winners were announced on March 14 and will receive the awards on June 12 at the conclusion of the 15th annual Manufacturing Leadership Summit in Huntington Beach. Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or email@example.com.