U.S. Navy Turning to 3D Printing to Reduce Costs
The U.S. Navy is looking to use 3D-printing to assist in the manufacturing of metal parts for equipment maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO). It is part of an effort to maintain an inventory of low-cost, readily available parts for MRO. The Office of Naval Research explained, “Aging Naval platforms are being challenged by dwindling traditional sources of supply. In response to this need, the naval warfare centers, maintenance depots, and FRCs plan to use additive manufacturing to produce small quantities of out-of-production or long lead-time metallic components.”
The Navy has signed a two-year, $2.6 million contract with a $3.8 million option with Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC), a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit to use a laser powder-bed fusion method to manufacture the requisite equipment. This isn’t the Navy’s first foray with 3D-printing, having previously signed an agreement with Senvol, a New York-based company that uses data to help clients implement additive manufacturing.