Joint venture develops 3D printing for naval shipbuilding

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division and 3D Systems are developing additive manufacturing technologies to accelerate the adoption of metal 3D printing in naval shipbuilding.

The joint effort is expected to support qualification and certification programs necessary to implement the technology for the US Navy.

Newport News’ Vice President of Engineering and Design Charles Southall said the “game-changing” technology had scope to be one of the most significant manufacturing innovations since nuclear-powered ships in the 1950s.

Traditional manufacturing methods involve the conversion of raw materials into a finished product through cutting or grinding metal.

Additive manufacturing involves the layer-by-layer fabrication of raw materials into a finished product.

It is part of Newport News’ integrated digital shipbuilding (iDS) program.

As part of the agreement, 3D Systems installed the high-performance metal additive manufacturing system at Newport News.

The machine is capable of creating marine-based, alloy parts for castings or other fabricated parts, such as valves, housings and brackets.

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