Navy Deploys With On-Demand Manufacturing CapabilityMarch 15, 2019
Along with the usual construction equipment, tools and weapons, the Seabees of the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 recently deployed with several 3D printers, providing them the ability to engineer and print original designs and stock-numbered items.
“We (Seabees) travel all over the world to aid in construction efforts. In remote locations, if something breaks, we do not have the luxury of ordering parts and receiving them in a timely manner,” says Ensign Jake Haack, additive manufacturing division officer. “With additive manufacturing we will eventually forward-deploy our units with the technology to design and 3D print a variety of parts they need. It’s the difference between getting a part in eight hours instead of eight days.”
Navy officials believe additive manufacturing has the potential to change the way the Naval Construction Force (NCF) operates, with the battalion producing several items servicing civil engineer support equipment (CESE) maintenance during its field training exercise in August, when they printed more than 30 different parts and identified 50 others to be designed.
“As a mechanic, it is extremely frustrating to see a unit of CESE be inoperable for weeks because of a single small part being unavailable,” says Construction Mechanic Constructionman Zachary Leland, additive manufacturing lead. “The only limits we have are our imaginations.”