Additive manufacturing firm 3D Systems has partnered with Newport News Shipbuilding — the sole designer and builder of US Navy aircraft carriers and one of two providers of US Navy submarines — to utilize metal 3D printing technologies in the production of warships.
The first significant milestone in the collaboration was reached this week, with 3D Systems delivering and installing its ProX DMP 320 3D metal printer at Newport News’ headquarters in Virginia.
The printer is designed to produce alloy replacement parts for castings, as well as housings, valves and brackets for nuclear-powered naval vessels. Newport News will now move portions of its shipbuilding process from traditional methods to 3D printing, and anticipates enhanced production rates with lower costs and reduced waste as a result.
“With the inclusion of the ProX DMP 320 into our manufacturing workflow, this marks the first metal 3D printer installed at a major US Navy shipyard,” says Charles Southall, vice president of engineering and design, Newport News Shipbuilding. “With this disruptive technology, Newport News has the potential to reinvent shipbuilding.”
3D Systems has contributed additive manufacturing expertise to the US Navy for decades, with its printing technologies used to produce components for everything from submersibles to aircraft.
“Through this collaboration, our 3D printing solution combined with our team’s expertise in metal 3D printing technology will redefine the supply chain for naval ship components – improving efficiencies and lowering total cost of operation,” says Kevin McAlea, executive vice president, general manager, metals and healthcare, 3D Systems.