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The Combat Capabilities Development Command of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has awarded leading American 3D printer OEM 3D Systems a $15 million machine development contract. Working with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), 3D Systems is tasked with creating “the world’s largest, fastest, most precise metal 3D printer.” Following installation across the Army, the technology will then be made available to leading aerospace and defense suppliers.
“The Army is increasing readiness by strengthening its relationships and interoperability with business partners, like 3D Systems, who advance warfighter requirements at the best value to the taxpayer,” commented Dr. Joseph South, ARL’s program manager for Science of Additive Manufacturing for Next Generation Munitions. “Up until now,” he adds, “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
“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, AND WHO HELP ENABLE NEW CAPABILITIES FOR CRITICAL NATIONAL SECURITY SUPPLY CHAINS.”
3D Systems metal 3D printer range currently consists of seven machines each employing the company’s PBF Direct Metal Printing (DMP) technology. The largest machine in this range is the DMP Factory 350, which has a maximum build envelope capacity of 275 x 275 x 380 mm (W x D x H). The 3D printer requested by ARL is to have build envelope of 1000mm x 1000mm x 600mm capable of building parts around 3ft in length and depth and less than 2ft tall. At this scale ARL’s 3D printer exceeds the size of some of the current sector’s largest machines such as the SLM Solutions SLM 800 (500 x 280 x 850 mm, L x W x H) and GE Additive’s...
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