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US NAVY TAKES INTEREST IN 3D METAL PRINTING TECHNOLOGY OF SPANISH MELTIO

10 November, 2022

The Phillips Additive Hybrid system integrates a Meltio metal thread laser deposition workhead into a Haas TM-1 computerised numerical control milling machine

The 3D metal printing technology of the Spanish multinational Meltio, headquartered in Linares (Jaén), has prompted the US Navy to install for the first time on one of its vessels a workhead -with Meltio-patented technology- which prints metal parts in 3D with multiple filaments, such as stainless steel with different properties.

The US Navy has advanced in its efforts to improve the self-sufficiency of its deployed vessels and crews and has reduced supply chain wait times by taking advantage of additive manufacturing with the installation of the first 3D metal printer, permanently installed aboard one of its ships (the USS Bataan).

“Introducing additive manufacturing into naval operations helps us be better equipped and self-sufficient,” according to rear admiral Brendan McLane, commander of the US Navy's Atlantic Fleet Ground Forces.

The equipment, installed within the framework of a joint undertaking between the Commander, the Atlantic Fleet Ground Forces and the Office of Technology of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), includes the Phillips Additive Hybrid system, which integrates a Meltio metal thread laser deposition workhead into a Haas TM-1 computerised numerical control milling machine. The Haas TM-1 platform has proven to function reliably in the field on board several aircraft carriers. Integrating the Meltio metal thread laser deposition workhead with the Haas TM-1 enables additive manufacturing capacity within the system itself, which increases efficiency and reduces waste in comparison with typical machining.

The Phillips Additive Hybrid system prints 316L stainless steel, a material which is frequently used in the systems of US Navy ships. Although additive manufacturing in stainless steel on board navy vessels is not new, it also represents an advancement since it provides sailors with industrial manufacturing capacities to print individual parts for systems that were not available before without acquiring the whole system at significantly higher expense.

The 3D printer works to maximise operational availability and reduce demands on traditional and Navy-specific supply chains. Furthermore, NAVSEA engineers installed a second 3D printer to make polymer components on board the USS Bataan. This printer enables the ship’s crew to print any of the over 300 packages of AM technical data developed by NAVSEA, which defines the configuration and necessary design procedures for manufacturing a part and guaranteeing its proper functioning.

“These printers are capable of helping the Navy to overcome obsolescence issues of vessels and systems which have useful lives that are measured in decades and directly contribute to improving the operational availability of our systems and vessels,” explained rear admiral Jason Lloyd, head of engineering at NAVSEA.

NAVSEA experts and industry partners are working to test, assess and commission the most advanced AM technologies in order to be better equipped and increase capacities, as demonstrated in the USS Bataan, a multi-purpose amphibian assault vessel that carries over 2,500 navy sailors and marines when it is at full capacity.

    10/11/2022News

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