The U.S. Marine Corps is making investments in innovative 3D printing technology.


The United States military has always been at the forefront of technological advancements, and additive manufacturing is no exception. From military buildings to naval ship construction and even on the frontlines of combat, the military is incorporating 3D printed devices and manufacturing techniques into its arsenal. The United States Marine Corps (USMC), in particular, has been focusing on the role of the Marine Corps Systems Command Advanced Manufacturing Systems (AMS) team in addressing supply and logistics challenges through additive manufacturing.

With the increasing strategic importance of additive manufacturing in the new Force Design restructuring plan, the USMC is exploring the various applications of 3D printing. The Corps recognizes the need for a “fully-integrated logistics enterprise” to support operations in contested environments. By utilizing 3D printing technology, the Marines aim to provide soldiers with top-of-the-line equipment and replacement parts while reducing the reliance on long supply lines and geographical obstacles.

The USMC has already been involved in several additive manufacturing projects, including the construction of 3D printed concrete structures. Matt Audette, a program analyst for the AMS team, is optimistic about the potential impact of 3D printed parts. He believes that additive manufacturing is a game-changer for the Marine Corps, allowing them to repair equipment and develop innovative solutions on the frontline. The smaller footprint and user-friendly technology of 3D printers enable them to construct essential components in any combat scenario, enhancing their agility and responsiveness.

Robert Davies, the AMS team lead, emphasizes the practicality of 3D printing in combat situations. Traditionally, when parts broke, the only options were either to bring or order new parts. However, with advanced manufacturing solutions, they can now manufacture essential components right in the combat zone. This eliminates the delays caused by forgotten or unavailable parts, enabling rapid repairs and minimizing downtime. The use of 3D printers also provides greater mobility and customization options for mission-specific needs, from medical supplies to vehicle parts.

In addition to the logistical benefits, 3D printing technology also reduces the training and specialization required to operate the equipment. Compared to traditional CNC or welding devices, soldiers need significantly less training to operate a 3D printer. This enhances the readiness of the users and ensures a quick response to equipment failures.

While the AMS team is vocal about the potential of additive manufacturing, they also acknowledge that it will not replace traditional manufacturing methods. They see 3D printing as a complementary tool, allowing them to produce a limited number of key components on-site when urgently needed. The AMS team’s focus is on providing rapid responses and addressing immediate needs, rather than mass-producing components.

The Marine Corps’ approach to AMS demonstrates their dedication to leveraging the latest technology for the benefit of their soldiers. Their emphasis on additive manufacturing as a means to enhance operational readiness and effectiveness highlights the importance of staying ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of military logistics.

What are your thoughts on the Marine Corps’ AMS team? Let us know in the comments below or connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter to stay updated with the latest 3D printing news delivered straight to your inbox. You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

Cover Photo: Justin Updegraff

Original source


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