Huntington Ingalls Industries, the sole builder of US Navy aircraft carriers, announced May 10 that its Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division is boosting application of 3-D printing in its operations.
NNS has partnered with 3D Systems to develop additive manufacturing technologies expected to accelerate the adoption of metal 3-D printing in the naval shipbuilding industry.
HII says the joint effort is expected to support future qualification and certification programs necessary to implement this advanced manufacturing technology for the US Navy and further revolutionize how shipbuilders build the next generation of warships. It is also part of a significant technological transformation underway at Newport News called integrated Digital Shipbuilding (iDS).
“This is a game-changing and disruptive technology for our industry,” said Charles Southall, Newport News’ vice president of engineering and design. “In addition to our ongoing digital shipbuilding efforts, 3-D printing could transform our design standards, and this technology has the potential to be one of the most significant manufacturing innovations in our industry since we began building nuclear-powered ships in the 1950s.”
As part of the joint development agreement, 3D Systems delivered and installed the ProX DMP 320 high-performance metal additive manufacturing system at Newport News. The machine is capable of making three-dimensional, marine-based, alloy parts for castings or other fabricated parts, such as valves, housings and brackets.
“3D Systems is pleased to play an integral role in transforming the naval shipbuilding industry,” said Kevin McAlea, executive vice president and general manager, metals and healthcare, at 3D Systems. “The ProX DMP 320 printer system, combined with our team’s expertise in metal 3-D printing technology, will bring new digitally enhanced geometries to Newport News Shipbuilding, enabling higher performing warship components and ultimately more efficient cost-effective parts delivery to the US Navy.”