Achieve Scalable Supply Chains and Update Legacy Defense Infrastructure with Advanced Metal AM

by | March 21, 2023 | Blog

For US defense organizations, it’s no secret that operational needs can shift and escalate at a moment’s notice. Thankfully, Velo3D’s advanced metal additive manufacturing solution provides unprecedented flexibility to address those shifting needs and take appropriate action by:

  • Creating a scalable manufacturing supply chain for US production and production at global military bases that achieves the same geometric accuracy and material properties as witnessed in US based development centers.
  • Leveraging a digital inventory where qualified parts have a persistent, unmodifiable, secure, digital print file that can be transmitted to a Velo3D enabled global print facility and recreated matching original specifications.

Through the integration of software and printing hardware with automated, fleet-level calibration, US defense organizations can be confident in the repeatable production of key components in near-theater operations.

Where advanced metal AM systems—like the one pioneered by Velo3D—diverge from traditional AM technologies is repeatability.

Velo3D metal AM provides a true path to part consistency through automated calibration, tightly controlled parameters, and in-situ quality assurance software. By manufacturing parts on a Velo3D printer, engineers can have the confidence in knowing the parts they print will uphold the same standard of quality time and again.

Download this whitepaper to examine how advanced manufacturing technology can give US Defense organizations a competitive advantage in design and production capabilities while servicing and maintaining legacy assets and infrastructure.

Supporting Legacy Infrastructure

Looking to the future and keeping pace with competing world powers is a key driver for the defense sector, but that doesn’t solve the immediate concerns of servicing legacy assets and infrastructure that may not be updated in the foreseeable future.

Advanced metal AM supports the most difficult maintenance and sustainment challenges by providing a reliable source of parts to extend the life of existing assets and respond to shifting maintenance and sustainment challenges with speed and precision.

With advanced metal AM solutions, US defense organizations can print parts without the need to redesign for AM.

This is true of parts with thin walls, round holes, and other complex internal geometries.

Establishing advanced metal AM manufacturing helps maintain battlefield advantage by creating an on-demand replacement part manufacturing system that limits reliance on foreign parts production and requires less specialized labor to operate.

This distributed supply chain also works to extend the lifecycle of mission-critical components whether they were initially designed for metal AM or traditional manufacturing technologies.

What repeatability means for DoD organizations is a scalable solution. Leveraging advanced metal AM, low-rate initial production volumes can be scaled out to full production for deployment in the field, further reducing the reliance on foreign supply chains.

Advanced metal 3D printing has had a wide-ranging impact across the supply chains of a number of industries, seeing particular success with those that operate in remote theaters like military and defense or harsh environments like oil & gas.

IMI Critical, a world leader in flow control solutions, was tapped by a major oil & gas operator to validate the viability of metal AM to reduce lead times on critical components, particularly choke valve cages, to service operations in difficult-to-reach environments. After partnering with Velo3D in the design of their improved choke valve cage, IMI was left with what’s known as a “Golden” Print File: a set of universal printing instructions that can be easily produced on any Velo3D Sapphire printer, anywhere in the world.

Through the “Golden” Print File, IMI was able to work with Velo3D’s global network of contract manufacturers, successfully printing the same design in six different locations around the world. The resulting parts were of identical quality and performance, and demonstrated both a drastic reduction in lead time to produce core parts, but also the ability for production to be scaled as needed.

Case Study

Print and Repeat: Validating Metal AM Part Repeatability & Scalability

For more information on how Velo3D advanced metal AM is driving technology innovation in defense, visit our dedicated resource page where you can access case studies, whitepapers, view an overview of our capabilities, and request to be contacted by one of our experts.

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About the Author

Amir Iliaifar

Director of Content

Amir Iliaifar is the Director of Content at Velo3D where he oversees the production and distribution of Velo3D’s global digital content marketing initiatives. Prior to joining the company, Amir worked for a leading professional drone manufacturer, several SaaS companies, and as an automotive tech journalist. He holds a Master of Arts in Digital Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.