SPEE3D worked with the Australian Army to test and validate metal 3D printing as a military capability.
The company says this latest field trial is “the longest and most difficult to date,” taking place in the remote NT alongside Exercise Koolendong.
The military announced a $ 1.24 million investment in a SPEE3D technology pilot project in February 2020 with a 12-month trial of the WarpSPEE3D tactical printer. The trial was designed to test the feasibility of deploying metal 3D printing as a capability both in the barracks and in the field.
The WarpSPEE3D Tactical printer uses patented cold spray technology that enables much faster and more cost effective metal part production, and can print large metal parts up to 40 kg at a record rate of 100 grams per minute.
A number of field trials in 2020 resulted in over fifty case studies of printable parts and demonstrated that SPEE3D’s WarpSPEE3D printer was rugged enough to operate in the remote Australian bush and the program was extended into 2021 to verify the first results.
This year, SPEE3D claims to have worked in close collaboration with the army to train the first military technicians of the additive manufacturing cell (AMC), specialized in the production of 3D printed metal parts, from design to printing, through machining, heat treatment and certification.
In the remote bush of the Bradshaw Training Area, located in the Northern Territory, AMC and SPEE3D recently tested the WarpSPEE3D Tactical Printer in its toughest trial yet. The printer was transported over 600 kilometers from the base, over rough terrain, to operate in hot and dusty conditions for three weeks.
“Last year’s trial proved that the SPEE3D technology was deployable. This year’s trial extension is larger, longer and further away, making it the toughest and longest metallic 3D printing trial in the world to date, ”said Byron Kennedy , CEO of SPEE3D.
During the three-week trial, the team produced metal parts for the M113 armored personnel carrier to prove that metal 3D printing can produce high-quality, military-grade parts that can be validated. and certified for field use.
As the program continues, AMC said it will explore more components that can be repaired and replaced using metal 3D printing and assess how this technology could eventually fit into the Australian Army infrastructure.