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Aircraft Carrier Gets First 3D-Printed Part

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

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The USS Harry S. Truman, a U.S. Navy nuclear aircraft carrier, is breaking new ground: A new 3D-printed prototype piping assembly, manufactured by Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding division, is to be installed on the aircraft carrier for 12 months for operational testing.

The part, set to be installed early next year, is part of a larger additive manufacturing process recently approved by Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).

3D-Printed Piping System

The newly approved additive manufacturing process deposits metal powder that is then sintered by a laser beam, allowing for the material to be built up layer by layer. In the end, the process creates marine alloy parts that can replace fabricated parts, such as valves and brackets. This process is now viable thanks to Huntington Ingalls Industries working in collaboration with the U.S. Navy.

According to New Atlas, 3D printing is of particular interest to various naval entites due to the potential for reduced costs, the production of simplified components and the flexibility to fabricate parts at sea. In theory, when a ship receives a digital file, a new component can be produced without one needing to be shipped out.

“This is a watershed moment in our digital transformation, as well as a significant step forward in naval and marine engineering,” said Charles Southall, Newport News’ vice president of engineering and design. “We are committed to partnering with the Navy to ensure that collectively, we are investing in every opportunity to improve and advance the way we design and build great ships for the Navy.”


Tagged categories: 3D Printing; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Research and development; Ships and vessels; U.S. Navy

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