Royal Australian Navy invests $1.5M in 3D printing tech

The Australian Government has announced a $1.5 million investment into a two-year pilot of SPEE3D technology for the Royal Australian Navy.

This investment includes the deployment of a WarpSPEE3D 3D metal printer.

Specifically, the cold spray 3D printing technology developed by the Darwin-based company will be deployed by the Royal Australian Navy in what it calls a “world-first trial” that aims to streamline the maintenance of patrol vessels.

The program development was a result of a partnership between SPEE3D, the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (AMA) and Charles Darwin University (CDU).

“We’re excited to be working with The Royal Australian Navy and the Additive Manufacturing Alliance on this program,” SPEE3D CEO Byron Kennedy said.

“Having the capability to produce high-quality metal parts on-demand, in the field or at sea will be groundbreaking for the Australian Defence Force.”

Originally unveiled at Formnext 2017, SPEE3D’s 3D printing technology is targeted at final part production, leveraging metal cold spray technology to produce industrial quality metal parts in minutes instead of days.

The process harnesses kinetic energy rather than relying on high-power lasers and expensive gasses, allowing 3D metal printing in the field or at sea.

The program aims to significantly increase parts available to the Navy, as compared to what the regular supply chain can provide.

“This high-tech machinery enables metal components to be produced quickly and efficiently, meaning our ships can get back on the water without delay,” Defence Industry minister Melissa Price said.

“Benefiting both the Navy and industry, the knowledge transfer gained using this capability also positions the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance to pursue further opportunities.

“This capability is a prime example of Australian innovation at its best and supports the Government’s unprecedented shipbuilding and sustainment plans.”

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