Aerospace

3D Systems metal additive systems building U.S. Navy warships

3D Systems’ stock price is buoyant today after the announcement of a naval warship building deal with Huntington Ingalls Industries, the largest military shipbuilding company in the United States.

The collaboration between Rock Hill, S.C. based 3D Systems and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division of Virginia aims to qualify metal additive manufacturing for use in the construction of naval warships.

Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) presently holds the only contract for the design, build and refuel of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. As the largest industrial employer in Virginia, NNS is also a provider of submarines to the U.S. Navy.

Virginia is home to one the country's largest naval bases. Photo by Michael Petch.
Virginia is home to one the country’s largest naval bases. Photo by Michael Petch.

Kevin McAlea, executive vice president, general manager, metals and healthcare, 3D Systems said, “3D Systems is proud of our long-standing relationship with the U.S. Navy.

“Through this collaboration with Newport News Shipbuilding, our 3D printing solution combined with our team’s expertise in metal 3D printing technology will redefine the supply chain for naval ship components – improving efficiencies and lowering total cost of operation.”

3D printing for nuclear-powered warships

NNS will be using 3D Systems ProX DMP 320 metal 3D printing technology in a bid to shift elements of their manufacturing efforts to additive. The shipbuilding company has installed one of the sizeable ProX DMP 320s and is planning to produce “marine-based alloy replacement parts for castings as well as valves, housings and brackets – for future nuclear-powered warships.”

The USS Wisconsin BB-64, docked in Norfolk Virginia, is from a different era of warships. Photo by Michael Petch.
The USS Wisconsin BB-64, docked in Norfolk Virginia, is from a different era of warships. Photo by Michael Petch.

Charles Southall, vice president of engineering and design, Newport News Shipbuilding said, “Newport News Shipbuilding is leading the digital transformation to further revolutionize how shipbuilders build the next generation of warships.”

“With the inclusion of the ProX DMP 320 into our manufacturing workflow, this marks the first metal 3D printer installed at a major U.S. Navy shipyard. With this disruptive technology, Newport News has the potential to reinvent shipbuilding.”

The 3D Systems ProX DMP 320. Photo via 3D Systems.
The 3D Systems ProX DMP 320. Photo via 3D Systems.

Read more about how the U.S Navy is using 3D printing.

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Featured image shows [L-R] Chuck Hull and Kevin McAlea of 3D Systems and Charles Southall of Newport News Shipbuilding. Photo via Newport News Shipbuilding.

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