ASTRO America selected to manage metal AM hull-scale tool project

April 13, 2021

ASTRO America will manage the Jointless Hull Project that aims to deliver a hull-scale tool using metal AM (Courtesy ASTRO America)

The USA’s Applied Science & Technology Research Organization, or ASTRO America, a nonprofit organisation that advances defence R&D, has been selected to manage a new US Army initiative to develop and deliver a hull-scale tool using metal Additive Manufacturing. Known as the ‘Jointless Hull Project’, the initiative aims to provide improved production speeds, reduced production costs, reduced vehicle weight, greater vehicle performance and increased survivability.

The Jointless Hull Project is being contracted through LIFT, a US Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute while the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center, Ground Vehicle System Center (DEVCOM GVSC) is directing the technical programme. The Army’s Rock Island Arsenal – Joint Manufacturing Technology Center is also a key partner on this project and will serve as the location for the operation of the new AM platform. ASTRO America has already kicked off the project with an Industry Day featuring both prospective machine vendors and leading vehicle builders.

“The mission is to develop a large-scale tool capable of producing single, jointless combat vehicle hulls at a near net size of 30 ft x 20 ft x 12 ft [9 m x 6 m x 3.5 m] in size,” stated Larry ‘LJ’ Holmes, Principal Investigator at ASTRO America. “Additive Manufacturing at a massive scale holds the potential to transform the way vehicles are built for the military while reducing supply chain fragility.”

Monolithic hulls for combat vehicles have reputedly well-established advantages – especially in survivability and weight savings – but traditional manufacturing processes are not cost-effective or adaptable to full production, especially when multiple vehicle platforms are put into play.

Aaron LaLonde, Additive Manufacturing SME, US ARMY – DEVCOM GVSC, and the Army TPOC for the Jointless Hull Project, commented, “Advanced manufacturing methods that are capable of enabling innovative part designs and concepts have tremendous value in achieving part, component, and ultimately vehicle concepts to provide warfighters and systems with leading performance advantages. This project will scale the benefits of metal Additive Manufacturing to a size range that will allow the benefits of the technology to be realised on larger system scale parts and enable next generation vehicle performance.”

ASTRO America states that this award is a testament to the need being met by the organisation to correct broader market failures and deliver state-of-the-technology solutions to the end customer to rapidly address warfighter needs.

“This is an ideal project for ASTRO America and its highly experienced team,” stated Jason Gorey, ASTRO America’s Executive Director. “This is not a research project for either hardware, software or materials. This is a direct implementation project where we scale existing, but advanced, methodologies to the required hull-scale size. We will be working with equipment vendors as well as system integrators to deliver on this project.”

Nigel Francis, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, LIFT, added, “As a national manufacturing innovation institute, we help advance technology from concept to use by the warfighter as quickly as possible. Developing the ‘jointless hull’ is also aligned with our mission of driving American manufacturing into the future by connecting materials to processes and to the systems involved.”

About Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine

Metal AM magazine, published quarterly in digital and print formats, is read by a rapidly expanding international audience.

Our audience includes component manufacturers, end-users, materials and equipment suppliers, analysts, researchers and more.

In addition to providing extensive industry news coverage, Metal AM magazine is known for exclusive, in-depth articles and technical reports.

Our focus is the entire metal AM process from design to application.

Each issue is available as an easy-to-navigate digital edition and a high-quality print publication.

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Metal powders in Additive Manufacturing: An exploration of sustainable production, usage and recycling
  • Inside Wayland Additive: How innovation in electron beam PBF is opening new markets for AM
  • An end-to-end production case study: Leveraging data-driven machine learning and autonomous process control in AM
  • Consolidation, competition, and the cost of certification: Insight from New York’s AM Strategies 2024
  • Scandium’s impact on the Additive Manufacturing of aluminium alloys
  • AM for medical implants: An analysis of the impact of powder reuse in Powder Bed Fusion

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

  • AM machines
  • Process monitoring & calibration
  • Heat treatment & sintering
  • HIP systems & services
  • Pre- & post-processing technology
  • Powders, powder production and analysis
  • Part manufacturers
  • Consulting, training & market data
View online

Discover our magazine archive…

The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

  • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
  • Articles on technology and application trends
  • Information on materials developments
  • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
  • International industry news

All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

Browse the archive

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap