UK MoD awards contract for two AM machines to enhance logistical and manufacturing capabilities

April 2, 2024

April 2, 2024

The Ministry of Defence has awarded a contract for two Additive Manufacturing machines (Courtesy UK Ministry of Defence)
The Ministry of Defence has awarded a contract for two Additive Manufacturing machines (Courtesy UK Ministry of Defence)

The UK’s Ministry of Defence has awarded a contract worth £383,000 to Additive X of Ripon for two advanced Additive Manufacturing machines. The move is part of an effort to enhance its logistical and manufacturing capabilities whilst modernising the tools and technologies available to the Royal Navy. It aims to address issues related to obsolescence and the availability of critical components.

The AM machines are designated for the naval bases in Devonport and Portsmouth and are aimed at enhancing the Forward Support Unit’s ability to rapidly design and produce metallic items, moving beyond the limitations of previous polymer-based manufacturing processes.

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According to the contract notice, the AM machines are expected to significantly advance the MoD’s manufacturing capabilities, “The AM machine must have the capacity to manufacture metallic items…able to manufacture parts up to 250mm x 183mm x 150mm, not exceeding 10Kg. It must have the capacity to manufacture from stainless steel (e.g. 17-4 PH), tool steel (e.g. H13-A2, D2), Inconel 625 (or equivalent) and Copper.”

The primary application of the AM machines is described as: “Forward Support Unit (B&C) have a requirement to increase capability to design and manufacture metallic items using AM as existing polymer manufacturing severely restricts the scope of this technology…This organic capability would save significant costs to upkeeps/FTSPs by offering a quick manufacturing capability for obsolescent or temporarily unavailable stores items.”

The contract includes a training and support plan to ensure that personnel can effectively utilise the new technology. The contract specifies, “The supplier, or their representative, shall provide comprehensive training in the use and maintenance of the printing machine and software applications as part of the machine Set to work, onsite at HMNB Devonport and Portsmouth, 4 personnel at each site, totalling 8 combined.”

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April 2, 2024

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