The Royal Netherlands Navy (RNN), the naval force of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is currently looking to produce 3D printed parts directly on site. To do so, they are currently working with Nanoe, a producer of high-performance materials and developer of furnaces, to explore the production and viability of ceramic and metal 3D printed parts.
They currently use a Zetamix system to gauge part quality, accuracy and strength. They are also looking to determine essentials to implement the technology on board of a ship and to proceed to certification. As a reminder, Zetamix filaments are compatible with FFF 3D printers. They can shorten manufacturing times and help to reduce production costs of ceramic and metal parts. Thus, by adopting the technology, the Navy intends to liberate from the constraints of outsourcing and gain in flexibility and autonomy.
“Printing metal parts directly on board would be a significant progress as it would help the Navy in increasing combat readiness and in reducing the logistical footprint, Max Nijpels, AM specialist for the Royal Netherland Navy comments.
This is not the first experience of RNN with AM. Last year, the engineering team of the Dutch Navy invested in an INTAMSYS 3D printer to improve its on-demand spare part manufacturing capabilities.
When a typical Dutch naval vessel ventures out for a mission, there are approximately 30,000 spare parts on board. These can be anything from critical engine components to shower drain covers and weed filters for the water system. The addition of a Zetamix system on board its frigate ships could help deliver the same objective they wanted to achieve with the high-performance 3D printers: to be less dependent on its conventional supply chains in a bid to reduce operational downtimes.
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