US Naval Sea Systems Command and Naval Surface Force Atlantic have integrated a three-dimensional metal printer onto the USS Bataan.
Overall, the printing system can carry out additive and subtractive manufacturing capabilities to increase efficiency and reduce waste when producing ship-related materials compared to traditional methods.
The 3D printer can fabricate 316L stainless steel, a material commonly used in US Navy vessel systems.
‘Readiness and Self-Sufficiency’
According to the navy, the printing technology aboard a ship allows sailors to obtain individual parts for systems rather than requiring the procurement of an entire system at greater cost.
It also maximizes operational availability and reduces the demand for traditional and navy-associated supply chains.
“The introduction of Additive Manufacturing (AM) into naval operations supports readiness and self-sufficiency,” Naval Surface Force Atlantic Commander Rear Adm. Brendan McLane said.
Polymer 3D Printer
The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship also received a second 3D printer that produces polymer plastic components.
This capability will serve a similar purpose to the steel-making printer, enabling crewmembers to print parts from more than 300 NAVSEA-developed additive manufacturing technical data packages.
“These printers have the ability to help the Navy overcome both obsolescence issues for ships and systems that have service lives measured in decades and directly contribute to enhanced operational availability of our systems and ships,” NAVSEA Chief Engineer Rear Adm. Jason Lloyd explained.