US Navy Ship Maintenance Center in Florida Employs 3D Printing Tech

The US Navy has integrated a 3D-printing solution at the Southeast Regional Maintenance Center (SERMC) in Florida to boost the service’s shipbuilding capabilities.

The US Navy wrote that equipping additive manufacturing technology will enable the center to “manufacture intricate replacement parts on-site.”

This approach is expected to “directly impact” processes that address the fleet’s needs, improve availability and associated timelines, and ultimately increase the naval ships’ presence in the theater.

Demonstrating Functionality

Among the first assets supported by SERMC’s 3D printing solution was the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99).

During the final phase of the ship’s maintenance, personnel found an issue within the DDG 99’s radar system. This case required a component replacement to solve the irregularity.

For the fix, SERMC reverse-engineered the part in approximately 40 minutes and added the model’s data into a design program for printing. An additional replacement part was produced to keep a backup at sea.

The entire resolution was completed in 3.5 hours, the navy said.

“The original part was injection molded and the 3D printed version was made with more rigidity than the original,” SERMC Additive Manufacturing Coordinator Chief Machinist Mate Nicholas Heinrich explained.

“If any ship on the waterfront needs the same part, we can manufacture a new one in about two hours.”

221010-N-FD648-1039 PIRAEUS, Greece (Oct. 10, 2022) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) anchors in Piraeus, Greece for a scheduled port visit, Oct. 10, 2022. Farragut is part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet, to defend U.S., allied, and partner interests. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan Childress)
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99). Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan Childress/US Navy

Delivery in ‘Short Period of Time’

SERMC Commanding Officer Capt. Justin Dowd complemented the success of additive manufacturing with the DDG 99 sustainment effort and further highlighted the importance of the new 3D capability for the center’s future operations.

“This accomplishment is another historical first for our 3D Lab here,” he said.

“Today we demonstrated that if a customer on the waterfront needs something quickly, they can rely on SERMC’s talented workforce and new printers to deliver a high-quality solution to the warfighter in a short period of time.”

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