A large-format SPEE3D metal 3D printer was installed by the Fleet Support Unit (FSU) at HMAS Coonawarra Navy Port, making the Royal Australian Navy the latest Australian Defence service with the capability to print their own metal parts, on demand.
Sustainment, or the repair, maintenance and overhaul of equipment makes up a substantial proportion of the cost of all Defence Forces globally. The difficulty and expense of getting spare parts through regular supply chains has been exacerbated and highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The world has been looking to advanced manufacturing (AM) to solve this problem, however, most AM technology has proven too delicate, too expensive, and far too slow to solve the problem. SPEE3D has proven to be the exception.
SPEE3D’s metal printing technology was developed in Australia and is a fast and economical metal 3D printing technology. It is also large format technology that has been proven field-deployable by Defence.
SPEE3D recently completed a series of successful field trials deploying the WarpSPEE3D printer to the remote outback with the Australian Army. The Australian Government funded the $1.5 million trial which included the training of Army craftsmen and engineers in 3D printing at Charles Darwin University in everything from design to certification of parts. The program resulted in a range of parts that the Army are now able to print and finish in the field at a fraction of the cost and time of current supply chains. The pilot program with the Royal Australian Navy is expected to produce similar results.
The installation of a WarpSPEE3D at HMAS Coonawarra was made possible after the Australian Government made $1.5 million investment in a similar 18-month pilot of the capability for the Royal Australian Navy. This trial is designed to streamline the maintenance of patrol vessels and significantly increase parts available to the Navy compared to those available from regular supply chains. This technology empowers the Navy to design and manufacture the parts they require, when and where they are needed, whether that be on base or at sea.