The ability to build important system components on location and on demand would be a huge boon to the military, so it’s not really surprising to learn that 3D Systems has recently signed a number of contracts with the United States military to develop 3-D printing applications to their demanding specifications.
Recent U.S. Air Force contract for 3D Systems
3D Systems announced this week that it was chosen by the US Air Force Research Laboratory to use its Direct Metal Printing technology to develop end-use metal aircraft components such as hear exchangers. This new $1.3 million order is another jewel in the crown of 3D Systems strong defense/aerospace manufacturing track record.
Of note, the project is overseen by Honeywell International, and involves a number of global leaders in aerospace and metals research and development. The project will also enjoy the additive manufacturing and materials expertise of the Penn State Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D).
This innovative aircraft heat exchanger project is anticipated to begin by the third quarter of 2015, and builds off the contract announced back in February. 3D Systems was also awarded two research contracts for the development of advanced aerospace and defense 3D printing manufacturing capabilities, and both deals involved 3D Systems’ Selective Laser Sintering and DMP technologies.
U.S. Navy’s “Print-the-Fleet initiative”
3D Systems has also entered into a cooperative R&D agreement with the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command. The agreement involves both parties jointly developing and evaluate 3D printing technology and materials for military use.
Under the agreement, 3D Systems will extend its technical expertise to NAVSEA’s Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division and work with the Navy in fulfilling its strategic initiatives.
This partnership with the U.S. Navy will lead to significantly improved supply chain management for naval ship components. The cooperative research initiative is designed to serve as a blueprint for modernizing shipbuilding, improving the repair of equipment and developing educational outreach.
The most recent contract is part of the Navy’s “Print-the-Fleet initiative” intended to help integrate 3D printing in Navy operations by educating sailors on the benefits of digital manufacturing. Moreover, this new deal brings the U.S. Navy another step closer toward its goal of fully integrating 3D printing into all aspects of supply chain management.