Metal additive manufacturing company SPEE3D has broken into the field of sustainment of US Navy submarines, announcing that the USN had chosen its technology to develop materials as a part of a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) project.
The project is related to Expeditionary Maintenance and Sustainment that achieves Submarine Safety Program (SUBSAFE) quality standards.
SPEE3D was subcontracted through the Applied Research Laboratory of the Pennsylvania State University (ARL/PSU), a leading NAVSEA partner in cold spray technology development.
Co-Founder and CTO at SPEE3D Steven Camilleri said: “We are honored to be chosen and trusted by the US. Navy to participate in this groundbreaking project.
“We have worked successfully with the US Navy in the past and understand the unique challenges they face with the need for manufacturing capabilities that are fast, reliable, and easily deployable.”
SPEE3D has conducted numerous trials with Australian and allied armed forces, including printing parts for the Australian Army in the outback and printing ship parts on US Navy vessels under way at sea.
Earlier this month the company was named a winner of the Office of the US Secretary of Defense Manufacturing Technology (OSD ManTech) ‘Point of Need Challenge’ for solutions to support forward-deployed forces in austere environments.
The programme will invest nearly $2.5 million, with industry partners contributing another $700,000 in cost share.
For the Point of Need Challenge, SPEE3D will showcase its patented Cold Spray Additive Manufacturing (CSAM) technology, and the ability to successfully 3D-print metal parts in sub-freezing environments equivalent in quality to the same parts printed, on the same technology, in a shop or lab environment.
The latest submarine partnership marks the first time a cold spray additive manufacturing technology will be investigated as a manufacturing method for SUBSAFE-compliant applications.
According to a statement: “Working together, the US Navy, ARL/PSU, and SPEE3D will develop an entirely new method to rapidly manufacture existing parts for use in critical submarine systems.”
SUBSAFE is a U.S. Navy quality assurance programme designed to ensure the safety of its submarine fleet.
“With SPEE3D’s capabilities, submarine parts could be manufactured in hours instead of months with a proven technology that has been tested extensively by the US, UK, and Australian militaries.
“In addition, SPEE3D is platform-agnostic and can manufacture a variety of metals, including aluminum 6061, aluminum bronze, and copper.”