First metal 3D printed part approved for shipboard installation

180918-N-ZU710-0011 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 18, 2018) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) conducts flight operations. Harry S. Truman will continue its deployment by conducting sustainment operations in the Atlantic. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Chen/Released)

The first metal additively manufactured part has been approved by Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). This constitutes a milestone in the navy sector today, a sector we do not often talk about in the additive manufacturing industry. The truth is, until now a few companies such as DNV GL have explored the possibilities of additive manufacturing in this area.

A DSO assembly

The part is in fact a prototype drain strainer orifice (DSO) assembly that will be installed on USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) for a one-year period from 2019.

During this evaluation trial, the DSO assembly will allow drainage/removal of water from a steam line while in use.

This install marks a significant advancement in the Navy’s ability to make parts on demand and combine NAVSEA’s strategic goal of on-time delivery of ships and submarines while maintaining a culture of affordability,” said Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, NAVSEA chief engineer and deputy commander for ship design, integration, and naval engineering. “By targeting CVN-75 [USS Harry S. Truman], this allows us to get test results faster, so—if successful—we can identify additional uses of additive manufacturing for the fleet.”

A number of tests has been carried out prior to this approval and others will be performed during the evaluation period. At the end of the fiscal year 2019, the component will be removed for further analysis and inspection.

It should be noted that the use of metal AM is quite new in the navy. That’s why, in order to identify requirements and acceptance criteria, traditional mechanical testing was used for the design and production of this prototype.

« Specifications will establish a path for NAVSEA and industry to follow when designing, manufacturing and installing AM components shipboard and will streamline the approval process,said Dr. Justin Rettaliata, technical warrant holder for additive manufacturing.  “NAVSEA has several efforts underway to develop specifications and standards for more commonly used additive manufacturing processes.”

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