The US Army’s Rock Island Arsenal will receive the 2nd SPEE3D 3D printer –

Military forces around the world are excited about the use of additive manufacturing (AM), driven by the technology’s ability to produce components on-demand, at the point of need, without the logistics of traditional replenishment and procurement, and at a fraction of the cost and time. The use of 3D printing is becoming so widespread that in 2021 the US military announced that it wanted to “integrate AM across the Department of Defense (DoD)” as part of a strategy to develop standards for digital manufacturing products and processes.

Today, the US military announced that it will leverage the capabilities of a new platform called WarpSPEE3D – the world’s first large-format cold spray metal 3D printing technology – to scale AM ​​applications. developed by the Australian company SPEE3D. In recent Australian Army field trials, the company’s WarpSPEE3D machines have proven to be rugged enough for austere environments such as the battlefield, making them an ideal expeditionary solution for building components at the demand at the point of need.

The US Army’s Rock Island Arsenal. Image courtesy of the US Army.

Acquired by Phillips Federal, a division of Phillips Corporation, the new WarpSPEE3D technology will arrive at the Phillips Federal Additive Innovation Center, located inside the U.S. Army’s Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Illinois sometime in 2022 The new addition will be part of a growing line of AM technologies, including another SPEE3D machine, the LightSPEE3D, purchased by Phillips Federal in July 2020.

Once there, the WarpSPEE3D will be used to advance the facility’s 3D printing capability, support materials exploration and research activities, and develop and manufacture on-demand large-format metal parts and prototypes. for the US Armed Forces.

Commenting on the agreement, John Harrison, Global Director of Phillips Additive, noted that “since 2020, the unique high-speed capabilities of SPEE3D technology have proven to be an excellent addition to support RIA’s manufacturing innovation goals. , and the range of our P3 [Public Private Partnership] Program. The new WarpSPEE3D printer from the RIA’s Center of Excellence for Advanced Manufacturing will allow us to expand our reach and achieve industry-leading achievements in the development of large format applications for expeditionary forces in the United States.

SPEE3D's WarpSPEE3D printer.

SPEE3D WarpSPEE3D cold spray technology. Image courtesy of SPEE3D.

As SPEE3D’s flagship large format metal cold spray 3D printing machine, the WarpSPEE3D can build multiple components at once up to 1000 x 700 millimeters in diameter and print 30 tons of metal parts per year. Operating at supersonic speeds of 100 grams per minute – between 100 and 1,000 times faster than traditional metal 3D printing methods – WarpSPEE3D can manufacture industrial-grade metal parts in minutes rather than days or weeks.

As of 2020, the WarpSPEE3D is often used by defense forces for an on-demand deployable metal fabrication capability. In 2020 and 2021, the Australian Army conducted several field trials with its WarpSPEE3D tactical printer at the Mount Bundey and Bradshaw training area during Exercise Koolendong, a high-end live-fire combat exercise. in the Australian Northern Territory carried out by Australian Army personnel and US Marines from Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D). Exercise Koolendong enhanced the ability of the Australian Defense Force and MRF-D to work together to respond quickly to crises and assist partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

Australian Army soldiers in front of a WarpSPEE3D printer - Mount Bundey Trials 2020

Australian Army soldiers standing in front of a WarpSPEE3D printer – Mount Bundey Trials 2020. Image courtesy of SPEE3D.

Additionally, field trials in 2020 resulted in over fifty case studies of printable parts and demonstrated that SPEE3D’s WarpSPEE3D printer was rugged enough to operate in the remote Australian bush. In 2021, the program was extended to verify early results and establish new field trials and Australian Army Additive Manufacturing Cell (AMC) technicians. In the 2021 field trials, the Australian Army successfully proved that it is possible to 3D print, certify, validate and replace armored vehicle parts in the field. The success of these trials revealed that the AF could play a vital role in the future of defense preparedness.

When it comes to breakthrough technologies, the WarpSPEE3D metal 3D printer was quickly deployed and put through its paces by the Australian Army in the extensive field exercise, proving the potential for deployment of this state-of-the-art printer on the land by the defense forces. all over.

According to SPEE3D CEO Byron Kennedy, the WarpSPEE3D will allow Phillips Federal and Rock Island Arsenal to explore a wider range of high-quality, low-cost large metal parts that are manufactured quickly. After just over a year of production, the center had already printed more than 1,000 parts for the Ministry of Defense and private industrial partners.

Rock Island Arsenal has been developing and manufacturing combat readiness solutions for the U.S. Army since 1862. Prepared to take the next step in advanced manufacturing technologies, RIA opened the Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence in 2019. Since then, he has been operationalizing 3D printing to accelerate army readiness. Working with Phillips Federal (the US government’s leading service provider and distributor of auxiliary machinery and equipment), the Army hopes to solve the DoD’s biggest logistical challenges. And nothing says “logistics readiness” like 3D printing.

Since its inception, 3D printing has been preparing to enable decentralized production near or directly at the point of need. Today, technology has proven to save businesses and government transportation costs and reduce overall logistics expenses. In fact, an MIT study indicates that adopting 3D printing can reduce supply chain costs by 50-90%. Moreover, as one of the most adaptable advanced manufacturing processes, additive manufacturing can indeed solve impossible spare parts problems on demand much faster than what traditional suppliers can supply. At this rate, RIA’s AM Centers will provide the U.S. military with the unique technical expertise and equipment needed to manufacture high-quality, durable products for future missions.