ASC backs additive manufacturing to repair submarines

Submarine specialist ASC, is backing the use of additive manufacturing technolgies to help repair Australia’s six Collins class submarines.

The Adelaide company has teamed up with CSIRO’s Lab22 and DMTC Limited to develop portable ‘cold spray’ technology for repairing damaged metal surfaces, enabling future in situ repair of submarine components even when at sea.

Successful development of the cold spray technique will allow Australian submarines to remain at sea for longer, without the need to dock for lengthy repairs.

Cold spray is an additive manufacturing and repair method that uses a stream of supersonic gas to accelerate metal powder particles at a surface, building up a dense deposit.

The innovative process occurs below the melting temperatures of the metals involved, which avoids damaging the structural integrity of the components and surrounding area.

ASC Chief Executive Officer Stuart Whiley said: “The use of additive manufacturing for the repair of critical submarine components, including the pressure hull, will mean faster, less disruptive repairs for our front line Collins Class submarine fleet.”

CSIRO and ASC have been working together for a number of years on the use of cold spray of nickel to repair corrosion, and now plan a two-year R&D project.

DMTC Chief Executive Officer, Dr Mark Hodge, said: “Our work to date has mainly focused on the aerospace domain, but we are now looking to apply that to submarines and other defence applications.”

Picture ASC/cold spray

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