AM Training in Marine Corps Builds Future Workforce

One of the greatest ironies of the recession of the mid2000s was many skilled manufacturing jobs, including those in additive manufacturing (AM), remained unfilled. During a period when unemployment was high, these specialized jobs lacked qualified applicants.  

AM or 3D printing experts remain optimistic about continuing innovation and expansion in this field in 2020 and beyond. There are also companies like Parmatech Corporation, a metal fabrication company with more than 40 years of experience that is working to close this skills gap.  

“Metal 3D printing is a rapidly growing technology being adopted across multiple industries. As industry awareness grows, we expect increased demand for this technology,says Ted Bryant, Parmatech Engineering Manager. “This, in turn, will result in many opportunities for individuals currently in the 3D printing industry as well as demand for new hires.”  

A leading supplier of custom metal injection molding components, Parmatech is a part of an ongoing CTMA effort called the HighSpeed Metal 3D Printing for Improved Sustainment initiative. In collaboration with the Marine Corps, Parmatech is training maintainers on how to use highspeed metal 3D printing for faster equipment repair.   

The Marines have embraced AM as a complement to its supply chain. Marine maintenance artisans are encouraged to learn AM skills to enhance the organic industrial base and empower creative critical problemsolving capabilities.  

Over the course of several months, maintainers have learned how to produce maintenance parts using HP Metal Jet printers and followed Parmatech’s intense six-hour per day schedule covering component orientation, print parameter optimization, excavation and decaking, and sinter support strategy. All these are important skillsets for the Marines as well as the current and future AM workforce. 

Since the training, Bryant says the Marines have been able to return to the base, optimize their work, determine the ideal parts for 3D printed metal, examine opportunities to combine components and realize the design freedoms that come with additive manufacturing. 

Some expected Marine outcomes from the HighSpeed Metal 3D Printing initiative also include shortened supply chain lead times, reduced on-hand inventory requirements, more efficient use of resources, and planning forecasts due to on-demand production. These benefits also have the potential to reduce maintenance costs and improve mission readiness.  

Training the Marines allowed us to validate and improve our own internal training procedures for current and future employees,Bryant added.  

For more information about this CTMA program, contact Marc Sharp at marcs@ncms.org