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The Surprising Ways That 3D Printing May Completely Transform the US Military

by • April 8, 2016 • No Comments

dodThe various types of branches of the United States military have never been especially shy of their interest in 3D printing innovation. Considering how versatile and useful 3D printing has proven to be inside a massive number of industries it is no surprise which the military may want a piece of it. Various military groups have been exploring ways to 3D print food in the field, print replacement bones and limbs, turn it into Iron Man-style battle armor and actually alter the way which the military maintains its swift of vehicles. It actually goes beyond research and hypotheticals, as the Navy has may already that successfully tested ballistic missiles with 3D printed components.

military 2Whilst all of which sounds quite amazing, it shouldn’t be quite dreadful to anyone which the military may be via and developing the same high end innovation which civilian companies do. But, it is additional than most likely which 3D printing can have just as disruptive and transformative effect on the modern military as it is expected to have on making and the medical field. Whilst reading a story of the Baltiadditional Sun in these days, a thing which writer Ian Duncan wrote quite stood out to me, and quite alterd the way which I see the role of 3D printing in next military applications.

“And by allowing the military to make what it requires in-house, the innovation in addition has the future to reshape the relationship between defense contractors and the government.” Duncan wrote in his article.

For the most part, there wasn’t a lot in the article which was especially new, we’ve previously written of all of the innovation and research which he covered in his article, but Duncan pointed out which the real effect which 3D printing can have on the military is its relationship with the military industrial complicated. Today, all branches of the US military are achievely dependent on civilian industry for just of equite piece of equipment, innovation or weapon which they use. These companies are paid to create, prototype, test and ultimately make equitething. Whilst which makes ideal sense in terms of practicality, it may not make the same amount of sense far sooner than anyone can imagine.

Industry and making experts have been predicting for years which once the innovation evolves far adequate additive making is going to achievely alter the way which we create just of equitething. Companies are may already developing high end 3D printing and making systems which are capable of via multiple processes and toolsets at the same time to create and assemble achieve, working electronic devices. Materials companies are may already working on 3D printing materials which have multiple uses, depending on how they are applied. Multiple 3D printing applications are may already finding permanent and invaluable places inside the smart factories of the next, virtually eliminating the require for several traditional making technologies and workflows.

Locomotive turbochargers maked at the GE plant in Chakan, India.

Locomotive turbochargers maked at the GE plant in Chakan, India.

When a single factory with a wide variety of additive making innovation can futurely replace dozens of specialized or product-specific factories, how long until they can replace all factories? Whilst we may be a decade or additional off of it, it is clear which quite soon making is going to appear quite various in the next, and most of the traditional methods can be outdated and greatly reduced in importance. Today the military has just a few quite specialized making facilities which they directly control, primarily for the reason they require so most various types of products and materials which it may be both financially and logistically not easy to create equitething in-house, but which is not going to last for quite much longer.

A B-52H Stratofortress.

A B-52H Stratofortress.

The Air Force is may already exploring how delivering high end metal 3D printing equipment into their maintenance centers to print replacement parts as requireed pretty than maintaining massive inventories of parts and components can alter the entire swift management workflow. If those plans are successful and so it is just expected which other branches of the military can rapidly follow suit. Being less reliant on outside companies to assist their requires for equipment is going to achievely upend how the military works, the type of folks which it seeks to enlist and the skills which they can focus on developing.

More than 99% of equitething which they use, of large-scale vehicles, to clothing, to createing supplies and actually down to spark plugs are all maked by private industry and purchased by the military. So what precisely takes place when, just like modern industry, the military does not require specialized making facilities any longer? What takes place when they can just 3D print whatever they want or require in their own smart factories? The role of defense contractors in the modern military is going to begin changing and shifting quite soon, and the fallout of which can have lasting impacts on equitething of education, to the labor force, to elected officials relationships with private industry to the entire world’s economy.

It is quite most likely which the military which we see in a few decades can be as unrecognizable to us now as in these days’s military may be to the military of the Revolutionary War. From the type of personnel which is recruited to the types of equipment which is utilized in the field, the military’s focus is going to be shifting in a few quite unexpected ways. Just when you ponder which you’ve seen all the ways which 3D printing innovation is going to be disruptive to the world, it turns out which it hasn’t actually begun to alter things yet. How do you foresee the military bringing on 3D printing additional? Discuss in the Military 3D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.