FATHOM and U.S. Marines create Modular Logistics Vehicle with additive manufacturing

FATHOM, a Californian design studio, has used additive manufacturing to create a Modular Logistics Vehicle (MLV) for the United States Marine Corps (USMC).

Frustrated by the unresponsiveness of traditional supply chains, Marines from the 29 Palms base generated the concept of converting standard utility vehicles into customizable transport suited for a diverse range of missions.  

This project was facilitated by the Launch Forth platform, as well as Deloitte, and Siemens.

An MLV complete with 88 3D printed parts. .Image via Launch Forth.
An MLV complete with 88 3D printed parts. Image via Launch Forth.

More mobile marine missions

The MLV originated from an international challenge on the Launch Forth platform to prove the value of crowd-sourcing ideas instead of traditional product development practices.

Arnab Chatterjee, a freelance mechanical engineer influenced by the capabilities of 3D printed cars, submitted the winning design, the Hybrid Adaptive Transport (HAT) 2.0. The HAT 2.0 leverages additive manufacturing to create a vehicle that can transform into a marine base while having enough room for a variety of marine supplies.

Pleased with this concept, members of the USMC worked to realize a fully functional prototype. The Launch Forth platform also aided in the creation of the 3D printed autonomous bus, Olli.

A 3D printed Modular Logistics Vehicle

FATHOM’s engineering and design team were responsible for fabricating the MLV prototype. The team used additive and traditional manufacturing processes to produce the vehicle, which took 10 weeks.

Using Siemens’ Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software, the team created a  cloud-based digital thread where FATHOM’s designers could access the 3D CAD files for further refinement before production. The MLV prototype included over 1800 components and took approximately 2000 project hours to produce.

88 of these components were 3D printed in grade materials using various additive manufacturing technologies. This included Multi Jet Fusion, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). After testing and validation, the functional prototype fabricated was demonstrated at Camp Pendleton in San Diego.

Testing the MLV. Image via Launch Forth.
Testing the MLV. Image via Launch Forth.

Is this a noteworthy use of 3D printing in the defense sector? Nominate for the upcoming 3D Printing Industry Awards 2019.

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Featured image shows the MLV. Image via Launch Forth.