FORT MEADE, Md. — As 3D printing increases both in the field and at depots, the Army’s Center of Excellence for Additive and Advanced Manufacturing is slated to reach initial operating capability this year at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois.
Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, the Army’s deputy chief of staff, G-4, outlined the Army’s current 3D printing capabilities at the 2019 Military Additive Manufacturing Summit and Technology Showcase Feb. 6, in Tampa, Florida.
At the summit, defense, academia, and industry officials were privy to the latest additive manufacturing technologies, event officials said. The Army will leverage these improved 3D printing capabilities to bolster equipment readiness and reduce logistics burdens, Piggee said.
As dark clouds gather over the global economy, manufacturers find themselves in the crosshairs
Long supply chains and a dependence on frictionless trade leaves manufacturers at risk to rising protectionism and slowing global growth. But a surprising form of technological defence could be available to them in 3D printing. Here are five key ways in which the tech could upend the economics of traditional manufacturing, while spurring innovation and cutting pollution.
3D printing offering economies of scale
Perhaps the biggest benefit of 3D printing could be its potential to cut costs, says Galina Spasova, senior research analyst at IDC. 3D printers reduce the number of steps required to assemble a finished part or product, speeding up the manufacturing process for some products, she says.
Industrial-grade 3D printing moves production closer to the point of use, changing relationships among suppliers, customers and service providers.
History could repeat itself as 3D printing is poised to disrupt the supply chain much like email changed the way people communicate.
In the 1990s, people scoffed that email would replace sending letters through the U.S. Postal Service. Today, billions of emails travel the world every day as USPS struggles with lost revenue from first-class mail.
The degree to which supply chains could be impacted by 3D printing is only an educated guess at this point as the technology matures and companies come to understand how to make the best use of it. Industrial-grade 3D printing moves production closer to the point of use, changing relationships among suppliers, customers and service providers like transportation carriers.
MCAS Iwakuni engineers have devised two products that reduce the time it takes to repair the fighter jets, saving costs for the U.S. Department of Defense. The products help with the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of the fighter jets, covering all tasks carried out to ensure the airworthiness of an flight vehicle.
The 3D printed products include an engine ship kit, designed by the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 (MALS 12), and a plastic ring kit that helps the maintenance of the bearings on the F/A-18’s Gatling gun.
Equipment and component manufacturers in the trucking industry are looking to expand their online presence and also see potential in 3D printing, both of which could help them reach more customers, they said.
Daimler Trucks North America is expanding alliancetruckparts.com, its e-commerce platform, and has seen an increase in customers using pinnacletruckparts.com, its dealer-sponsored e-commerce solution.
Ultimately, customers will decide how they communicate with the company, said Stefan Kurschner, DTNA’s senior vice president of aftermarket.
A new additive manufacturing service aims to transform how parts are created and optimized, reducing supply chain risk, decreasing costs and boosting efficiencies for sectors such as oil and gas.
Advisian Digital, the data science, software and technology business of the WorleyParsons Group, and Aurora Labs, the industrial 3D printing (3DP) technology company, have teamed up to launch an end-to-end additive manufacturing (3DP) service called AdditiveNow. The joint venture offers a range of 3D printing capabilities including advisory, design and short-run agile manufacturing.
John Bolto, specialist adviser, at Advisian Digital said, “The successes of early adopters, coupled with the 3DP expertise and resources now becoming available, offers resource businesses a huge opportunity to revolutionize their operations.
Frustrated by the unresponsiveness of traditional supply chains, Marines from the 29 Palms base generated the concept of converting standard utility vehicles into customizable transport suited for a diverse range of missions.
The United States has one of 16 so-called “lighthouse” facilities named as one of the leading 16 factories in the world today – Fast Radius’s Chicago factory, a 3D printing facility located in the city’s West Loop.
Fast Radius is a leading “provider of comprehensive additive manufacturing solutions” that specializes in the emerging field of 3D printing. The facility supports the most advanced industrial-grade additive manufacturing production in North America.
A World Economic Forum (WEF) white paper identified 16 factories that are leading the world economy in manufacturing technology. These factories, which exist across a broad range of industries, are classified by the WEF as “Lighthouse” facilities.
“We have a void in our supply chain and we really see additive manufacturing helping to fill that void.”
Following the formation of a partnership last June, PSMI (Production Services Management Inc.) has revealed how it’s reducing lead times by up to eight weeks and part costs by up to 98% with RIZE 3D printing technology.
Recognising the growth tooling applications within the additive manufacturing industry, PSMI created a wholly-owned subsidiary, Azoth, to provide on-site AM solutions through “digital tool cribs” for prototype tooling, gaging, fixtures and more.
“We have a void in our supply chain and we really see additive manufacturing helping to fill that void,” said Scott Burk, President of PSMI. “The void exists for customers that need special one-off parts that the traditional tool and die shop would charge a lot of money for because they need to strip down and rebuild a machine to make those parts. Those usually take six to eight weeks or more in lead time, and the price is usually exorbitant.”
“We’ve done extensive testing with additive over the last couple of years to make sure we have the right technology to fit our markets and their applications.”
Tooling, jigs and fixtures have earned a reputation as the somewhat unexciting part of the additive manufacturing (AM) application spectrum. When you’re up against a world of generatively designed automotive parts and jet engines, it’s hard to shine when you’re tucked away on a production line. However, “the mundane”, as Todd Grimm called it in a notable keynote at TCT Show 2014, is rightfully having its moment in the spotlight as major manufacturers from Ford to Volkswagen are adopting these unsung technologies as aids on the factory floor.
According to a recent report based on AM technology providers, around 7% of customer applications were said to be tooling components, similar to the percentage of customers seeking more common applications such as visual aids and models. Responding to this growing demand, Wilson Tool International, the largest independent manufacturer of tooling systems for punch presses, press brakes, and punch and die components for the stamping and tableting industries, has decided to not only adopt additive but launch an entirely new AM-focused product division.