The RAPID (Reverse engineering, Advanced manufacturing, Prototyping, Innovation and Design) unit in the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, USA, is reported to be helping the US Air Force replace hard to find parts and tools via three-dimensional modelling, designing tooling and Additive Manufacturing. Based on customer surveys, it is approximated that the unit saved customers over $1 million last fiscal year, and about 12-15 work hours per project.
“We can print inexpensively with cheap plastic to validate specifications before the part is manufactured in expensive metals,” stated Taylor Gittins, RAPID supervisor. “This not only saves money but also helps improve the quality and lead time of the manufactured parts.”
The unit has over twenty AM machines with different capabilities, including those for polymer and metal Additive Manufacturing using technologies such as Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB), Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), and Vat Stereolithography.