Partnership brings 3D printed ships a step closer

Partnership brings 3D printed ships a step closer
The ProX DMP 320. Courtesy of 3D Printed Systems

3D Systems has announced a collaboration with ship designer and builder, Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division, to qualify metal additive manufacturing technologies to build naval warships. The partnership marks a new step in bringing 3D printing to the shipping and maritime industries.

Newport News Shipbuilding will modify portions of their manufacturing process from traditional methods to additive, with the aim of increasing production rates of high accuracy parts, reducing waste, and driving cost savings.

The first step of the partnership, which has already begun, is the delivery and installation by 3D Systems of a ProX DMP 320 3D metal printer to Newport News Shipbuilding’s site. The printer will be used to produce marine-based alloy replacement parts for castings as well as valves, housings and brackets for future nuclear-powered warships.

“3D Systems is proud of our long-standing relationship with the U.S. Navy,” said Kevin McAlea, executive vice president, general manager, metals and healthcare, 3D Systems. “Through this collaboration with Newport News Shipbuilding, our 3D printing solution combined with our team’s expertise in metal 3D printing technology will redefine the supply chain for naval ship components – improving efficiencies and lowering total cost of operation.”

Charles Southall, vice president of engineering and design, Newport News Shipbuilding said: “With the inclusion of the ProX DMP 320 into our manufacturing workflow, this marks the first metal 3D printer installed at a major U.S. Navy shipyard. With this disruptive technology, Newport News has the potential to reinvent shipbuilding.”