The army’s use of metal 3D printers to make parts it desperately needs has become an important tool.The Australian Army, however, took the lead in the attempt of metal 3D printers moving with the army. It completed the deployment of metal 3D printers in 30 minutes, printed on different terrain, and produced large metal parts weighing up to 40kg at the speed of 100 grams per minute. The Australian Army achieved unprecedented achievements.
On 30 June 2020, the Bear learned from foreign media that the Australian Army had conducted field tests on the WarpSPEE3D additive Manufacturing (AM) system of metal 3D printer manufacturer SPEE3D.
The three-day trial, which took place at various locations in northern Australia, showcased metal 3D-printed parts during field training.SPEE3D’s 3D printers were able to be deployed within 30 minutes during the entire test, and in the field, 3D printed metal parts to repair damaged equipment.Great application potential!
Byron Kennedy, CHIEF executive of SPEE3D, said: “The first battlefield deployment is an important milestone for SPEE3D. Although our equipment was originally designed for industrial use, this trial proved that our equipment is actually very stable and reliable, able to withstand harsh conditions and rough transportation.Look forward to future exercises and continue to learn how we can better serve the Australian military and defense industry.”
In fact, The Bear previously reported on The Australian metal 3D printing company SPEE3D, which is known for its fast metal 3D printing.SPEE3D devices can also print 100 to 1,000 times faster than traditional metal 3D printing, turning metal 3D printing from a useful function for prototyping or small batch production into a real manufacturing solution.
3D Printing and the Australian Army
The Australian military has made a series of investments in 3D printing (dating back to 2014).At the time, Australian lieutenant Jacob Choi said he wanted the Australian army to “take full advantage of 3D printing by 2020,” and it appears that promise is being fulfilled.
In February 2019, the Royal Australian Navy commissioned a 1.5 million Australian Dollar (us $1 million) project, SPEE3D in collaboration with the Advanced Manufacturing Union (AMA) and Charles Darwin University (CDU).The government-backed two-year program is actually a trial of SPEE3D’s metal 3D printing technology, aimed at simplifying maintenance of patrol ships.
A year later, in February 2020, Defense Industry Minister Melissa Price announced SPEE3D had completed a further A $1.5 million project.The 12-month programme begins with 20 soldiers being trained in advanced additive manufacturing techniques in the CDU.The first phase of the trial was a success, with soldiers trying to use their newfound knowledge to operate the SPEE3D printer in harsh conditions in Australia’s Northern Territory.
Successful field tests by the Australian Army
They installed A WARP SPEE3D metal 3D printer at the Australian Army’s Robertson Barracks in Darwin in early June 2020.A week later, soldiers from the 1st Combat Service Support Company packed up and trucked the printers into the jungle.The three-day experiment at The Mountbundy field Training area, 120km south-east of Darwin, involved loading the system onto several bushes and then unloading it on different terrain.Not only has the 3D printer proven to be able to be transported and unloaded under harsh conditions, it can reportedly be debugable and run in 30 minutes.
SPEE3D’s large-format system, using their patented cold spray technology, is faster and more cost-effective than traditional manufacturing methods and can produce functional parts in minutes rather than days or weeks. It can produce large metal parts weighing up to 40kg at a rate of 100 grams per minute.WARPSPEE3D machines can 3D print metal in limited space, such as in field training.
Throughout the project, SPEE3D 3D printers enhance the mobility of the Australian Army compared to conventional supply chains and allow for the customization of metal parts at any time.In addition, the mobility demonstrated by the system allows soldiers to print parts in messy situations without having to carry spare parts during exercises.Portability also allows the Australian military to better repair damaged equipment in combat missions, according to Colonel Wright.
Applications in global military operations
More and more defense departments around the world are deploying 3D printers.The Army has been an active proponent of additive manufacturing, using the technology to make everything from black Hawk helicopter parts to custom earplugs for soldiers.
The French Army is also integrating 3D printing into its operations through an agreement with Prodway, a French industrial 3D printer provider.The French military has installed two ProMaker P1000 3D printers to help validate the advantages of 3D printing for on-site production of spare parts.
Meanwhile, the British Army has used desktop 3D printers to support the UN Mission in South Sudan.Using Lulzbot TAZ 6 3D printers, Army personnel stationed there produced 3D-printed parts and accelerated the construction of the hospital.
Compiled from 3Dprintingindustry