Earlier this year, Photocopy announced the installation of an ElemX liquid metal 3D printing system on a United States Navy ship. It followed the deployment of a machine at the Naval Postgraduate School in California in 2021 and served to represent the growing game of metal 3D printing in the military sector.
In the last of our Innovators on Innovators SeriesTali Rosman, General Manager of Elem Additive at Xerox, spoke with Mike Pecota, a contract support expert for the Department of Defensewhere he specializes in additive manufacturing (AM) to discuss additive manufacturing in the military.
During an hour-long conversation, the duo discussed opportunities for digital inventories in defense sectors, considerations to take into account when implementing AM in military organizations, and the need to basic quality standards in 3D printing.
Discussing how new military users of 3D printing should apply the technology, Pecota explains that it can often be difficult to generate the funding by targeting low-hanging fruit:
“When you’re talking in this environment, looking for a resource sponsor that’s going to fund this great process so that we can even have engineers who are evaluating these parts and making sure they’re making the less critical parts, that’s It’s really hard to argue and say, ‘hey, if you’re spending millions of dollars over the next two years to support these printers, we’re going to do very uncritical things that nobody cared about at all way, but we’re going to do it really well.’ The resource sponsors, they want these big wins, they want to plead and say, ‘yeah, we’re saving that much money, we’ve had a return on investment, we’ve put together these aircraft or equipment, we solve these problems’, it’s difficult when you ‘focus on less critical elements and say ‘this is where we start, we will get there. But we have to do these many years of work, we need so much money to do it. It’s difficult.
More ways to listen: