3D printing technology developed in Darwin will be deployed by the RAN in a world-first trial that will streamline the maintenance of patrol vessels.
The Government has announced a $1.5 million investment into a two-year pilot of SPEE3D technology for the RAN, including the deployment of a WarpSPEE3D 3D metal printer.
SPEE3D, an Australian award-winning manufacturer of metal-based additive manufacturing technology, have partnered with the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (AMA) and Charles Darwin University (CDU) to deliver the program. SPEE3D collaborated with CDU to form AMA in 2017.
SPEE3D printers make metal parts the fastest way possible, leveraging metal cold spray technology to produce industrial quality metal parts in minutes, rather than days or weeks. This process uses kinetic energy rather than on high-power lasers and expensive gasses, allowing 3D metal printing in the field or at sea, at affordable costs.
The program aims to significantly increase parts available to the Navy compared to what the regular supply chain can provide.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price congratulated the Charles Darwin University’s Manufacturing Alliance and SPEE3D.
"Nine minutes thirty seconds. That's what it took to make this piece of metal," Minister Price said. “This high-tech machinery enables metal components to be produced quickly and efficiently, meaning our ships can get back on the water without delay."
"The US Navy are doing it in a different way to us, and they're finding a fair bit of difficulty getting their systems to work at sea. We know that this one will work at sea," CAPT Chris Eggleton said.