The US Navy has awarded a new contract to Lockheed Martin to conduct studies and customise multi-axis robots that use laser beams to deposit material and produce metal components.

In collaboration with the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research, the company is exploring opportunities to apply artificial intelligence (AI) for training robots to independently oversee and optimise additive manufacturing of complex parts.

Under the two-year, $5.8m contract, a team led by Lockheed’s Advanced Technology Centre will be responsible for the development of new software models and sensor modifications that would enable the multi-axis robots to 3D print improved components.

Lockheed Martin Additive Manufacturing fellow Zach Loftus said: “When you can trust a robotic system to make a quality part, that opens the door to who can build usable parts and where you build them.

“We will research ways machines can observe, learn and make decisions by themselves to make better parts that are more consistent.”

“Think about sustainment and how a maintainer can print a replacement part at sea, or a mechanic print a replacement part for a truck deep in the desert. This takes 3D printing to the next, big step of deployment.”

Researchers involved in the study will apply machine learning techniques to additive manufacturing to allow machines to decide how to optimise structures based on previously verified analysis.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

The verified analysis and integration into a 3D printing robotic system will form the major scope of the work to be carried out under the current contract.

Lockheed Martin project manager Brian Griffith said: “We will research ways machines can observe, learn and make decisions by themselves to make better parts that are more consistent, which is crucial as 3D printed parts become more and more common.

“Machines should monitor and make adjustments on their own during printing to ensure that they create the right material properties during production.”