by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Maritime Logistics Community News : April 2014
26 MARITIME LOGISTICS COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER 2014 COLLINS SUBMARINE PROJECT LEUT MARK LUCKING, RAN It may sound a little far fetched but already the US Army is 'printing' replacement weapon parts in Afghanistan and the USAF uses 3D printing technology to create full size replicas of UAV's to help train technicians. In the future could this technology be used by the ADF to increase efficiency and to support the RAN in its mission to Fight and Win at Sea? This article will look at what other Military's are doing with the technology and explore the implications of 3D printing on the supply chain. Background Three dimensional (3D) printing, or additive sequencing as it also known, was originally developed in the 1970's and was trademarked by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the early 1990's. Designers use Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to create a three dimensional outline or image. This image is then "brought to life" by printing layered cross sections of the design in order build the desired object. Originally only capable of producing items made from a brittle plastic the technology has come a long way. Today its possible to print items using plastics (either solid, liquid or granular), metals, ceramic powders, metal or plastic film, chocolate, simple chemicals, concrete and even paper. Foreign Government/Military and 3D printing Various foreign Government bodies have invested heavily in 3D printing. In a recent NASA news release, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is quoted as saying, "As NASA ventures further into space, whether redirecting an asteroid or sending humans to Mars, we'll need transformative technology to reduce cargo weight and volume... In the future, perhaps astronauts will be able to print the tools or components they need while in space."1 NASA is looking at the prospect of printing food. Not unlike the food synthesizer used in the first Star Trek series, NASA is investigating using 3D printing technology to create food that could sustain a crew during long voyages through space. Still in its initial phase, the project is looking at the challenge to meet the long term nutritional needs of the astronauts without the need for refrigeration.2 Even the US President has touted the promise of 3D printing. During his State of the Union Address delivered in Washington DC on 12 Feb 13 he stated, "A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionise the way we make almost everything."3 Not to be left out, the US Military have shown interest with the US Army deploying their first mobile unit capable of designing and producing problem-solving inventions for soldiers operating in remote outposts in Afghanistan. The 20 foot containers are fitted with high tech 3D printers along with other equipment that are operated by scientists and engineers in the field. These units are used to enable rapid problem solving inventions for the soldiers in the war zone. This means when a soldier in the field has an idea to improve a piece of equipment the designers can sit down with the soldier and create the design. Using the container the item can be produced, tested and put to work in a very short time frame. According to Col. Pete Newell, Commander of the Army's Rapid Equipping Force at Fort Belvoir, Va. "It's really difficult to connect the guy who is building the product to the kid who really needed it to begin with, so what we went after is to connect the scientist to the soldier, he said, Rather than bringing the solder home to the scientist, we have uprooted the scientist and the engineer and brought them to the soldier"4 Printing our way from Nil Stock Global Have you ever sat and wondered what effect 3D printing could have on the ADF? Could the future see Naval Ships with the capability to print things such as repair parts, food or medical items? Continued next page ... 1 http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2013/may/HQ_13-161_Made_in_Space.html 10 June 2013 2 http://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/home/feature_3d_food.html 10 June 2013 3 http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/12/remarks-president-state-union-address 11 June 13 4 http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/08/17/mobile-labs-build-on-the-spot-combat-solutions.html?comp=1198882887570&rank=1 10 Jun 13 Members of the US Army Rapid Equipping Force with one of the deployable containers.