How 3D printing can aid the military supply chain

U.S. government technology agencies such as NASA have been demonstrating new 3D printing capabilities, including a recent “zero-G technology demonstration” aboard the International Space Station.

The Navy also is getting into the act as it seeks to address supply chain issues via the additive manufacturing process that could speed the delivery of parts and equipment to sailors “just in time.”

At the recent Sea-Air-Space Expo, Navy engineer Steve Price displays a small additively manufactured modular payload multi-rotor drone, capable of accepting a variety of payloads.“Additive manufacturing could bring about revolutionary changes to the Navy supply system, with an associated paradigm shift from the current order and stocking system to implementation of just-in-time inventory,” Capt. Armen Kurdian, director of engineering and product support for the Navy Supply Command, predicted during a an event hosted by Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) in Dahlgren, Va. “It has the potential to move the point of manufacture for hundreds of components and parts closer to the point of demand.”

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