ExOne developing portable AM system for US Department of Defense

February 17, 2021

ExOne’s AM system pod will be deployed directly in the field to manufacture parts in support of war theatres, disaster relief or other remote operations (Courtesy ExOne)

The ExOne Company, North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, USA, has been awarded a US Department of Defense (DOD) contract to develop a fully operational, self-contained Additive Manufacturing system, housed in a standard shipping container of up to 12.2 m (40 ft) long.

Alongside ExOne, Dynovas, Inc, Dover, Delaware, USA, (specialising in materials engineering, composites manufacturing and DOD weapons systems) and Applied Composites (AC), San Diego, California, USA, (provider of complex components, assemblies, engineering and tooling) will also be utilised in the production of the pod, with AC’s Reinforced Additively Manufactured Compression Assisted Molding (RAMCAM) system an enabler to the project.

Currently under development, the AM system pod will be deployed directly in the field to manufacture parts in support of war theatres, disaster relief or other remote operations. To meet the demands of these locations, ExOne is developing a special military edition AM machine capable of Binder Jetting (BJT) more than twenty materials (including metal, ceramic and composites) into direct final products or tooling. This upgraded machine will also have a unique body style and other features to make it a more rugged product.

“Binder Jet 3D printing is a critical manufacturing technology for military use because of its speed, flexibility of materials and ease of use,” stated John Hartner, ExOne’s CEO. “We’re excited to collaborate with the US Department of Defense and other partners to make our 3D printers more rugged for the military, which will also benefit our other manufacturing customers. Most importantly, we know that years from now, our technology will play an important role in filling critical needs quickly.”

A digital library of parts for AM can be stored electronically, as opposed to keeping spare parts physically stored in a depot. And, when dealing with older parts without a readily-available digital file, items can be easily 3D scanned before being additively manufactured in the field. What’s more, parts needed to solve unique problems could also be designed digitally and additively manufactured as needed.

By enabling a military team to additively manufacture parts as needed, on-site, downtime can be reduced from weeks or months to only a few days or less; ideally, military personnel would be able to additively manufacture a digital file of a broken or damaged part and have a finished product in less than forty-eight hours, without conventional tooling, in the self-contained pod. On top of saving critical time, cost and waste would also be reduced.




In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF

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

  • Separation anxiety: Lessons learned at NASA from a developmental rocket engine failure
  • What is 'good' metal AM? Exploring the industry's value metrics for production
  • An inside perspective on China’s thriving metal Additive Manufacturing industry
  • Additive Manufacturing for jewellery and watchmaking: Exploring the potential of sinter-based technologies
  • Metal Additive Manufacturing for digital dentistry: An introduction for dental professionals
  • Case study: The development of a multi-material heat sink by Additive Manufacturing using Aerosint technology

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

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

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
Download PDF
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap