Binder jet 3D printer OEM ExOne is set to develop a portable 3D printing factory for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) after being awarded a $1.6M contract by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) last August.
Currently under development, the ‘rugged 3D printing pod’ will be housed in a standard 40-foot shipping container. It will contain everything the armed forces might need to address the problem of spare part production in the field and will be deployable via land, air, or sea. To help speed up the development of the factory, ExOne is working in collaboration with materials engineering firm Dynovas and tooling manufacturer Applied Composites.
John Hartner, CEO of ExOne, states, “Binder jet 3D printing is a critical manufacturing technology for military use because of its speed, flexibility of materials, and ease of use. We’re excited to collaborate with the U.S. 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 ritical needs quickly.ExOne’s portable 3D printing factory. Image via ExOne.
Ruggedizing binder jetting for the field
Themajority of the funding from the contract will go towards improving the ruggedness of ExOne’s existing commercial 3D printers. This will improve their suitability for a wide range of harsh operating conditions to better prepare them for field deployment.
The compny will also be developing a special military-edition of one of its industrial binder jetting systems, one that will feature a unique body style and upgraded features to convert it into a military-grade manufacturing engine. ExOne states that it will be able to 3D print the company’s entire suite of 20+ additive manufacturin powders, including ceramics and metals.
A portion of the fnding will also go towards simplifying the use of ExOne’s 3D printing technology with software and training schemes, such that the pod can be used with minimal echnical knowledge. In addition to the ruggedized 3D printer, the portable factory will contain a fully-functional 3D scanning and print pen, a third-party fiber-reinforced composite 3D printer, and even a compression molding station.
The ExOne Company (Nasdaq: XONE), the global leader in industrial sand and metal 3D printers using binder jetting technology, has been awarded a U.S. Department of Defense contract to d