3D Printing for Improved Maintenance and Sustainment of Shipyards

NCMS Project #: 142106

Problem: The commercial shipping industry faces maintenance and sustainment challenges today that require innovative, high-tech solutions.  Similarly, providing timely logistics support, construction, conversion, overhaul, and repair to the U.S. Navy fleet is an ongoing challenge at the Naval Shipyards.  Between 2012 and 2018, only 30 percent of maintenance was completed on schedule.  The Navy must adopt best in class technologies to minimize down time of its fleet, to maintain mission readiness.  As the U.S. continues to project its force in a forward deployed posture, the sustainment of mission critical components and systems is paramount.  This sustainment requirement is principal for the success of both commercial industry as well as the government’s mission to preserve national interests both overseas and at home.

Benefit: This initiative can be used as a blueprint for private industry supply chains to integrate rapid 3D printing as an alternative source of supply and manufacturing, ultimately reducing overall supply chain costs, reducing customer wait time, improving levels of service and passing organizational savings on to the end consumer.  This initiative will provide a capability that can also be employed by the operational forces, increasing productivity, and providing a streamlined process for all the armed services to utilize.

Solution/Approach: Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, allows for rapid sustainment and decreased Maintenance Cycle Times (MCT) by providing repair parts quickly, locally (at or near the point of need), and in many cases cheaper than Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) Maintenance and sustainment work can progress unimpeded.  The AM capabilities will challenge the current supply chain requisition fulfillment process and reduce the logistical requirement of having to move a “steel mountain” of repair parts for operational units.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Increase warfighter safety and readiness 
  • Decrease supply chain lead times and on-hand inventory 
  • Enhance production of sustainment and repair parts 
  • Reduce maintenance and sustainment costs 

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Navy, Yokosuka Naval Shipyard Facility (SRF) 
  • Norfolk Naval Shipyard (observer) 
  • Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (observer) 
  • Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (observer) 
  • Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (observer) 

Industry Participation:

  • 3DPC (MarkForged)
  • Brule (Ultimaker)
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Repair turn-around time
  • Obsolescence management and continued maintenance capability
  • Improved readiness

Focus Area:

  • Advanced/additive manufacturing