Australian-made 3D printers to be installed on Navy vessels

Australian-made 3D printers will be installed on Australian Navy vessels in a trial of in-situ advanced manufacturing.

Announced on November 21, the Department of Defence will invest $1.5 million in the Supersonic Deposition 3D printer pilot, a world first. The printers will be used on patrol vessels to streamline maintenance processes, as Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, outlined.

“This high-tech machinery enables metal components to be produced quickly and efficiently, meaning our ships can get back on the water without delay,” she said.

The pilot is a collaboration between Defence and Charles Darwin University’s Advanced Manufacturing Alliance, with SPEE3D producing the printers themselves. Price hopes that the trial will enable other partnerships in the future.

“Benefiting both the Navy and industry, the knowledge transfer gained using this capability also positions the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance to pursue further opportunities,” Price said.

Also announced on November 21 was the beginning of construction of the $95 million Naval Guided Weapons Maintenance Facilities Project.

The facility will be located in Orchard Hills, Western Sydney, with WATPAC the head contractor.

According to Price, the facility will enable the parts which contribute to the weapons systems to be locally updated.

“The new facility will enhance maintenance components for Navy’s Guided Weapons systems, directly supporting the operations of the Australian Defence Force,” she said.

Member for Lindsay, Melissa McIntosh, noted that work to support the facility will be delivered by local subcontractors.

“This $95 million investment and WATPAC committing to sourcing 95 per cent of their sub-contract work from local industry within 50 kilometres of Defence Establishment Orchard Hills is a win for Western Sydney jobs.”

As the systems develop, their implementation and development will be based at the facility.

“We know that guided weapons inventory has evolved significantly and this will continue. Looking to the future, Western Sydney will be at the forefront of defence technology and advanced manufacturing and this is another project unlocking opportunities for our community. Locally, we will be driving technology that will be used across the country by our Australian Defence Force,” said McIntosh.