HII shares its latest efforts to integrate AM into the shipbuilding process for nuclear-powered submarines

Image. Credit: HII's Newport News Shipbuilding division

On the heels of its approval as a vendor to provide some Additive Manufacturing components to Naval Sea Systems (NAVSEA) platforms, HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division shares the recent efforts it made with its partner General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB).

General Dynamics Electric Boat designs, builds and provides life cycle support to the world’s finest submarines. Together with HII, they aim to certify 3D-printed parts to accelerate construction and delivery of submarines to the U.S. Navy.

The companies have focused on the availability and deployment of marine-based alloys, such as copper-nickel, to provide an alternative to traditional copper-nickel castings. Recently, a copper-nickel deck drain assembly was identified as a candidate for the 3D printing solution. Working with shipbuilding partner GDEB, and supplier AMMCON on the model and proof of concept, NNS successfully created a copper-nickel deck drain part using AM. AMMCON is providing final machining and assembly of the part, before it is installed on Virginia-class submarine Oklahoma (SSN 802), to be delivered by NNS.

As a leader in additive manufacturing for shipbuilding, we are aggressively looking for opportunities to find ways to incorporate this technology into mainstream shipbuilding,” said Dave Bolcar, NNS vice president of engineering and design. “This collaborative project leverages authorizations made by the Navy that streamline requirements for low-risk additive manufacturing parts. It is possible due to the foresight and longer-term development efforts by our engineers to deploy additive manufacturing marine alloys for shipbuilding.”

Our submarine design and engineering teams are focused on working with our supply and construction partners to speed the adoption of innovative technologies,” said Megan Roberts, vice president of quality, waterfront engineering, radiological controls and fleet support for Electric Boat. “These first efforts to install additive-manufactured parts on submarines demonstrate the technology’s potential to dramatically reduce lead times for critical components, which will enable us to deliver more submarines faster, supporting the Navy’s fleet demands.”

We are honored to contribute to the ongoing success of the Virginia-class submarine program in this innovative way,” AMMCON President Darrell Grow said. “As a longtime supplier for nuclear-powered submarines, our team understands the importance of these national security assets and remains committed to delivering the critical parts needed for their delivery.”

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