The US Navy has conducted Print Sprint II event in San Diego to encourage the use of 3D printing technology at naval shipyards to support fleets.

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Tactical Innovation Implementation Lab (TIIL) organised the event designed to enable navy maintenance providers to work collaboratively to develop new 3D printing solutions and applications.

Print Sprint II comes after the first print sprint was conducted last year at Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Keyport to gauge the fleet and shipyards’ abilities to create a random part in a short time through additive manufacturing.

The latest event saw participation from more than 51 people from several navy organisations, including NUWC Division Keyport, all four major shipyards, and regional maintenance centres.

TIIL tactical implementation manager Suzie Simms said: “NUWC Division Keyport has been super engaged with the afloat components to find parts that could be 3D printed remotely or even aboard a ship once we can get printers out there.”

Under the provisions of the FY 19 US Department of Defense Appropriations Act, an additional $20m has been provided to support the development of advanced additive technologies to help sustain the country’s naval assets.

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TIIL director Janice Bryant said: “It is important to recognise the link between investment in, and development of, emerging technologies to create efficiency for both public and private organisations.

“Additive manufacturing has the potential to revolutionise the navy’s supply chain.”

“Additive manufacturing has the potential to revolutionise the navy’s supply chain. Sprint efforts are centred on advancing and maturing this capability within and across navy maintenance depots.”

NUWC Division Keyport contains 3D printers capable of producing metal. It is one of the only facilities with the capacity to 3D print metal.

The navy added that this ability allows for 3D printing technology across NAVSEA in real-time.