3D Systems announced on Thursday that the Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has awarded the company a $15 million contract to create the largest and fastest metal 3D printer in the world.
"The Army is increasing readiness by strengthening its relationships and interoperability with business partners, like 3D Systems, who are advancing warfighter requirements at the best value to the taxpayer," said Dr. Joseph South, ARL's program manager for Science of Additive Manufacturing for Next Generation Munitions.
The printer intends to revolutionize key supply chains associated with long-range munitions, next-generation combat vehicles, helicopters and air and missile defense capabilities.
"Up until now, powder bed laser 3D printers have been too small, too slow, and too imprecise to produce major ground combat subsystems at scale. Our goal is to tackle this issue head-on with the support of allies and partners who aid the Army in executing security cooperation activities in support of common national interests," South added.
According to the U.S. Army Additive Manufacturing Implementation Plan, the Army has been using additive manufacturing (AM) for two decades to refurbish worn parts and create custom tools. Once developed, the Army will leverage its manufacturing experience by placing the new large-scale systems in its depots and labs.
In addition, 3D Systems will also evaluate the feasibility of integrating the new technologies and processes into its existing portfolio of 3D printer technologies. Subsequently, 3D Systems and its partners plan to make the new 3D printer technology available to leading aerospace and defense suppliers for development of futuristic Army platforms.