A U.S. Navy amphibious warship has installed a three-dimensional printer to experiment with additive manufacturing technology, Breaking Defense reported Tuesday.
Sydney Freedberg writes the USS Essex has already used the printer to make minor and small-scale materials and plans to test how the machine handles engine vibration and other at-sea conditions.
“Additive manufacturing has to get to the point where a part printed on the machine has the same strength and overall properties that a cast part has,” said Lt. Benjamin Kohlmann, a member of the Chief of Naval Operations’ Rapid Innovation Cell group.
Freedberg reports that the defense industry has used 3D printing ashore to both create prototypes and build components, including projects run by General Electric and Lockheed Martin.
Vivek Saxena, a 3D printing consultant and ICF SH&E vice president, told Breaking Defense the additive manufacturing industry was worth $2 billion worldwide in 2013.