Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division has delivered the first 3D-printed part for the US Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Harry S Truman.
The delivery of the metal part – a piping assembly – represents a milestone in the integration of additive manufacturing into the design and fabrication of components for nuclear-powered warships.
The US Navy will now install the piping assembly on the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) and evaluate it for a period of one year.
Newport News engineering and design vice-president Charles Southall said: “We are pleased to have worked so closely with our Navy partners to get to the point where the first 3D metal part will be installed on an aircraft carrier.
“The advancement of additive manufacturing will help revolutionise naval engineering and shipbuilding. It also is a significant step forward in our digital transformation of shipbuilding processes to increase efficiency, safety and affordability.”
Last year, the Naval Sea Systems Command approved the technical standards for 3D printing following collaboration with HII and industry partners.
As part of the collaboration, HII and its partners undertook printing of test parts and materials, as well as the development of an engineered test programme.
According to the company, the development of the 3D-printed part for the US Navy, and the adoption of 3D printing in general, could deliver cost savings and reduced production schedules for naval ships.
In May, Newport News teamed up with 3D Systems for the development of additive manufacturing technologies in a bid to accelerate the adoption of metal 3D printing in the naval shipbuilding industry.
On 21 January 2019, the US Air Force integrated its first 3D-printed metal part for the F-22 Raptor aircraft.