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The HENSOLDT AM Suite is a mobile, self-sufficient 3D printing cell

Headquartered in Taufkirchen, Bavaria, Hensoldt is a multinational defense, aerospace and electronics company.

A spin-out from Airbus Group in 2016, Hensoldt now has approximately 4,000 employees and generates annual revenues in the region of €1 billion.

Some of these funds are now invested in developing what the company describe as “a turnkey solution for 3D printing.”

A render of the Hensoldt AM Suite. Image via Hensoldt.
A render of the Hensoldt AM Suite. Image via Hensoldt.

A “self-sufficient 3D printing cell”

Hensoldt has posted several render images showing a container type structure, covered with camouflage markings. This “self-sufficient 3D printing cell” is termed the HENSOLDT AM Suite, and is aimed at helping their customers introduce 3D printing technology.

Franziska Unseld, project manager at HENSOLDT, said “When introducing 3D printing, companies are confronted by numerous challenges – the project is complex, large investments are required, rooms have to be specially set up, and the extensive knowledge which is needed to make the technology useful for the company is usually not available internally.”

“That is just where we come in. We offer customers a turnkey solution, which they can modify to meet their needs.”

The 20 ft container is designed to allow Hensoldt customers to experience first hand how 3D printing can be integrated into operations. Within the AM Suite Hensoldt says  “the entire process chain – from the design to the finished part –  [can] be reproduced and experienced.”

The turnkey AM Suite is a mobile 3D printing solution. Image via HENSOLDT Sensors.
The turnkey AM Suite is a mobile 3D printing solution. Image via HENSOLDT Sensors.

The expeditionary fabrication laboratory

Initial development of the project saw a focus on metal additive manufacturing. However 3D printed plastics were later included.

The mock-ups released by Hensoldt show a Concept Laser Mlab metal 3D printer. The Mlab has the smallest footprint of the powder bed fusion machines developed and sold by the German company.

The choice of a mobile container required several challenges to be overcome, one of which was the fact that most 3D printing units are infrequently relocated. Hensoldt has worked to reinforce and harden individual components to cope with this additional strain.

The AM Suite might also be deployed in war zones, as suggested by the ability to bury the unit.

As previously reported, the U.S. Marine Corps is developing a mobile Fab Lab. The expeditionary fabrication laboratory (X-FAB) is a  20 x 20 foot unit, complete with with four 3D printers, CAD software and a 3D scanner.

The self contained expeditionary fabrication laboratory (X-FAB). U.S. Marine Corps photo by Kaitlin Kelly
The self contained expeditionary fabrication laboratory (X-FAB). U.S. Marine Corps photo by Kaitlin Kelly.

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Featured image shows the turnkey AM Suite, a mobile 3D printing solution. Image via HENSOLDT Sensors.

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