|Printing the Future of Naval Additive Manufacturing
As part of the larger strategic effort to implement and integrate additive manufacturing (AM) across the Marine Corps, the Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics (DC I&L) directed demonstrations to provide examples of the "art of the possible". This demo attests to the many ways AM addresses the maintenance challenges the Marine Corps faces. The candidate parts and components were identified as demonstrators to exemplify AM's capability to influence parts, obsolescence, long-lead times, and early failure challenges.
Taken into consideration were:
Original Equipment Manufacturer Data Rights
Component Qualification and Certification Criteria
Directives From Higher Commands such as the Department of the Navy Additive Manufacturing Implementation Plan
Proposed Investment Plans from across the Marine Corps
Additive Manufacturing in the MAGTF...
Logistics Combat Element (LCE): The LCE must be determined to keep the Marine Corps moving forward in spite of equipment readiness obstacles due to non-existent domestic suppliers and shrinking fiscal budgets. AM has the potential to become that revolutionary technology as the Marine Corps endeavors to enable replacement components that are lighter, stronger, and more effective with a supply system that is more responsive. Similar to how the Marine in World War II used "Replenishment At Sea" to transform the naval battle in the Pacific, we demonstrated that the supply chain can transition into a supply network by integrating the ability to rapidly print critical requirements when and where needed.
Ground Combat Element (GCE): AM has the potential to replace a vulnerability with a tailorable weapon. As AM continues to mature, so does it for our enemies. The Marines of tomorrow need to realize the future first in order to develop our required capabilities better and faster than our adversaries. This will be exemplified by the emerging ability to accelerate munitions and energetics lethality with unique fragmentation patterns for specific missions and the knowledge base to print body armor that can be contoured to the wearer and is harder than our current SAPI plates.
Air Combat Element (ACE): Right now, the Marine Corps has the ability print swarms of unmanned systems for a variety of assignments and partner agencies are working on the ability to do so in expeditionary environments. No more being held up by platforms which are too big to be expeditionary and too expensive to expose to enemy fires. With AM, new systems will be on-time and on-demand while forcing the enemy into one tactical dilemma after another with ISR that never sleeps and fires that don't cease.
Expeditionary Manufacturing (ExMan): The Marine Corps’ Mobile Facilities (MF) are deployable manufacturing asset that provide innovative personnel the ability to create solutions to real world issues and delivers additional tools to protect against readiness issues in deployed environments. The ExMan will also provide greater independence from the expensive and vulnerable supply chain tether that decreases tactical and operational-level maneuver. Conceptually, the ExMan capability, spread throughout the MAGTF, can create a network of distributed manufacturing centers allowing the Marines to be more self-sufficient for many critical support requirements. Fully developed and exploited, the ExMan concept may truly "operationalize" logistics and be a new "weapon" in the MAGTF of the future.
Next Generation Logistics (NexLog): NexLog is the Marine Corps’ point of contact and advocate for logistics-related innovation. Its mission is to aggressively harvest new ideas for innovative products, processes and polices, and then shepherd the most promising emerging technology projects through the development process. NexLog currently focuses on the areas of Additive Manufacturing, Sense and Respond Logistics, Unmanned Logistics Systems, and Expeditionary Medicine.
Additive Manufacturing Documents
Additive Manufacturing 101
Digital Additive Manufacturing Framework
Guidance from Higher
Printing the Future - Aviation
Printing the Future - Ground
Tactical Fuel Visibility and Accountability for the MAGTF
USMC Additive Manufacturing Strategic Vision