This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in one or more of the following: (1) manufacturing complete aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles; (2) manufacturing aerospace engines, propulsion units, auxiliary equipment or parts; (3) developing and making prototypes of aerospace products; (4) aircraft conversion (i.e., major modifications to systems); and (5) complete aircraft or propulsion systems overhaul and rebuilding (i.e., periodic restoration of aircraft to original design specifications).

Assembly Line

Game-Changing Wi-R Technology to Revolutionize Soldier Communications: OTTO Engineering and Ixana Announce Strategic Alliance

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Partnership

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Ixana, OTTO Engineering

OTTO Engineering, a leading developer and manufacturer of ruggedized communications equipment for the tactical market, and Ixana, a pioneer in wireless body area network technology, announced a strategic alliance aimed at revolutionizing electronic devices used by the warfighter.

This alliance positions OTTO Engineering as the exclusive integration partner for Ixana’s game-changing Wi-R technology in soldier communications, control and monitoring equipment for the Federal and Military markets. The partnership will focus on seamlessly integrating Ixana’s silicon chip into critical soldier gear, including tactical audio devices, military radios, and control interfaces like radio push-to-talk buttons. Beyond direct integration into OTTO products, OTTO will collaborate with other companies to develop and manufacture a wider range of products powered by Ixana’s Wi-R silicon chip.

This integration will leverage Ixana’s Wi-R, a revolutionary Body Area Network technology that utilizes fields around the human body as secure and reliable communication channels, completely eliminating the need for physical wires, resulting in a truly innovative and seamless way for devices to securely connect with each other.

Read more at Ixana Blog

The Air Force is quietly revolutionizing parts replacement

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Patrick Tucker

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Machina Labs, US Air Force

The U.S. military spends billions on replacement parts for aircraft each year, with the Air Force requesting $1.5 billion for parts in the next fiscal year alone. Now, officials at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, working with a startup called Machina Labs, say they’ve found a robotic AI-driven solution to those high costs. And the new technique could also significantly shorten the supply chain, allowing replacement to happen closer to the front lines.

In terms of the military’s future needs, the system’s most important asset may be its small size, with the current version able to fit on the back of a truck. A smaller infrastructure footprint could mean not only cost savings, but also allow troops to move repair work—or drone making—much closer to the battlefield. That’s something the Ukrainians have done with great success, and it allows for much more nimble operations as well as decreasing the vulnerability of supply lines. It could be particularly useful in the Pacific, where parts resupply is fraught with logistical and political challenges.

Read more at Defense One

Royal Netherlands Army invests €722,000 in Titomic cold spray manufacturing technology

📅 Date:

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Royal Netherlands Army, Titomic

The Royal Netherlands Army has placed an order for ten units of Titomic’s D523 metal cold spray manufacturing system. It is the largest order Titomic has received for its D523 cold-spray systems to date.

The Koninklijke Landmacht land branch of the Royal Netherlands Army has invested 772,000 EUR (AU$1.28 million) into the additive manufacturing systems, with nine of them being sent to support Ukraine’s war effort. With these systems, the armed forces will enhance battle damage repair in-field and forward maintenance, improving battle readiness and prolonging mission capability. The D523 system can process a series of metal materials, including aluminium, copper, nickel and Inconel 625, deliver parts with great accuracy and is capable of providing porosities below 1%.

Read more at TCT Magazine

Inside Factory Rebuilding US Army’s Massive M1 Abrams

Automated Disassembly of Deadly Weapons

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: James DeSmet

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: CRG Automation, US Army

In 2021, systems integrator CRG Automation successfully completed an unprecedented project to automate the process of disarming, disassembling and destroying 70,000 aging rockets filled with deadly nerve agents. The project was so successful that the Army came back to us with another task: Create an automated system to disassemble and destroy thousands of mortar rounds filled with highly toxic mustard agent. The rounds were stored at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) in Pueblo, CO, and would have to be destroyed by the end of 2023.

The system was designed virtually using computational fluid dynamics, quickly proving that the concept would work. This was essential given the finished technology involved five subsystems and more than 2,000 parts.

CRG sent a series of engineers to the Colorado plant prior to installation to train the employees who had been unable to visit during the development. “They lived in our plant,” says Jackson, who had anticipated the installation process would take 60 days. Instead, because of the constant collaboration and the team’s approach, it took just 21. That’s faster than the industry standard of 42 days for just a simple conversion of existing equipment. “We’re talking about brand new systems here,” Ankrom says.

Read more at Assembly Magazine

GA-ASI Demonstrates Release of A2LE from MQ-20 Avenger UAS

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, Partnership

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: General Atomics, Divergent

GA-ASI’s design and engineering team partnered with Divergent Technologies, Inc. for the A2LE vehicle design and build, matching GA-ASI’s aircraft design expertise with the Divergent Adaptive Production System (DAPS™) to support rapid, low-cost manufacturing of the demonstration vehicle.

The demonstration vehicle airframe was 100 percent additively manufactured and was designed to meet the captive carriage and ejection loads of the jet-powered aircraft with internal weapons bays. The topology-optimized AM structure was validated via proof and pit ejection testing prior to the flight demonstration. The demonstration highlighted the design efficiencies that can be realized when AM is incorporated early in the design process and throughout the vehicle. It was also a key step in validating the AM process and material properties for incorporation in future systems to be employed by both manned and unmanned platforms.

Read more at General Atomics News

Metal 3D Printers At Ukraine’s Frontlines Make Critical Spare Parts

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Carolyn Schwaar

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Spee3D

Seven massive Spee3D printers were supplied to Ukraine by the U.S. Department of Defense through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and are likely to be deployed close to the frontlines. Their mission is to rapidly fabricate critical repair parts for more than 40 different armored platforms and aging military equipment systems donated by various nations to support Ukraine in its war with Russia.

The fleet of Spee3D metal 3D printers (called WarpSpee3D and priced around $1M each) is not intended to replace normal supply chains when spare parts are attainable. Instead, the focus is on critical parts, or what the military calls “parts of consequence.” Of which there is a constant demand.

Hinges, brackets, attachments, connectors, pumps, levers — all manner of parts, large and small, can halt an advance or cripple an operation. Deployable 3D printing units can fabricate these parts in less than a day, dangerously close to the point of need.

Read more at Forbes

Digital Engineering: Enabling Success Across The DoD’s Acquisition Process

📅 Date:

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Parsons Corporation

By leveraging advanced modeling & simulation tools, Digital Engineering enables a more efficient, agile, and cost-effective approach to the design, development, and sustainment of defense systems. It promotes early identification and mitigation of risks, enables virtual prototyping, facilitates collaboration among stakeholders, and improves the overall decision-making process.

Parsons Digital Engineering Framework (PDEF) provides the capability for accelerated, technically credible analytics, and fast and agile prototyping, supporting the rapid transition of capabilities from the laboratory to the warfighter. PDEF is an innovative tool suite of MBSE and Modeling and Simulation tools, which can be any mix of COTS/GOTS and/or customer-derived tools, as required. The mix of tools in the suite is tailored to the needs of each customer project, providing optimal and cost-effective use of resources.

Read more at Parsons Blog

AeroVironment, Inc. to Acquire Tomahawk Robotics

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Acquisition

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: AeroVironment, Tomahawk Robotics

AeroVironment has announced its anticipated acquisition of Tomahawk Robotics, a leader in AI-enabled robotic control systems. The acquisition will enable deeper integration of both companies’ technology, leading to enhanced interoperability and interconnectivity of unmanned systems through a singular platform with similar control features. This will ultimately enable warfighters to operate various connected robotic solutions in the battlefield and share information between multiple domains with one common controller. The two companies entered into a definitive agreement under which AeroVironment will acquire 100% of Tomahawk Robotics equity for a total purchase price of $120 million to be paid in a mix of cash and stock.

Read more at AeroVironment News

Facing a Battle for Armored Steel, This Tank Maker Bought the Factory

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Alistar MacDonald

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: KNDS

Threatened with a shortage of the hardened steel used to make parts of its tanks, one arms company went on the offensive: It bought a 200-year-old steel foundry to ensure supply.Now, the 1,500-degree-Celsius molten metal pouring out of a giant ladle here will be used to make parts for KNDS’s Leopard 2 tanks and other armored vehicles that are currently playing a starring role on Ukrainian battlefields.

Securing specialty metals is one of several supply-chain challenges facing the sector, where shortages of chips, rocket engines and other components have hindered efforts to arm Ukraine and replenish supplies sent there. Seeking to secure enough supplies of cast-steel parts to feed an increase in production, KNDS bought an 80% controlling stake in a German steel foundry earlier this year.

Ballistic steel is hardened by adding a mix of metal alloys and then treating it with high temperatures. One grade of steel produced by the foundry is around twice as strong as steel typically used in construction, Steinheider said.

Read more at Wall Street Journal

Senvol Demonstrates Machine Learning Approach to Material Allowables

📅 Date:

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Senvol

Senvol recently demonstrated a machine learning approach to material allowables development that was shown to be more flexible, cost-effective, time-effective, and equivalent to the conventional (in this case, MMPDS) approach to material allowables development.

As part of the program, Senvol demonstrated a new approach to material allowables development that leverages machine learning. A machine learning approach is extremely flexible and able to handle any change to the AM process, which makes this approach ideal for sustainment in the long-term. The program focused on demonstrating the approach using a 17-4 PH Stainless Steel material processed via a powder bed fusion AM machine.

Read more at Senvol News

Rheinmetall presents Mobile Smart Factory for mobile production of spare parts for Battle Damage Repair

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Rheinmetall

At an event organised by the European Defence Agency (EDA), Rheinmetall presented a new solution for the mobile production of spare parts for military vehicles. Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH, an OEM for tactical and logistic tracked and wheeled vehicles, presented the new mission support concept. The Mobile Smart Factory (MSF) delivers metal 3D printing and postprocessing capabilities and is fully integrated into Rheinmetall’s IRIS (Integrated Rheinmetall Information System) digital ecosystem.

The MSF consists of two 20-foot mobile shipping containers, one serving as an office container and the other as a production container. The office container houses an air-conditioned workstation and storage space. A polymer printer and a handheld scanner for quality control is also part of the office container. The production container is equipped with a Metrom P7000, a 6-axis hybrid machine. This machine is not limited to wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) technology. With an integrated CNC milling facility, it also enables on-site finishing and postprocessing. The combined welding and CNC capability gives Battle Damage Repair personnel additional options for repairing and overhaul. This is why the MSF also lives up to its name of “Mobile Smart Factory”.

The machine can produce components with a maximum size of 700 mm in diameter and 450 mm in height. All weldable wires and polymers can be used. The metal deposition rate is up to 600 cm3/h (cubic centimetres per hour).

Read more at Rheinmetall News

U.S. Marine Corps. Awards 3YOURMIND and Phillips Corp. $2.5M Contract

📅 Date:

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: US Marines, 3YOURMIND, Phillips

3YOURMIND and Phillips Corp. Federal Division are pleased to partner with Marine Corps System Command’s Advanced Manufacturing Operations Cell (AMOC) to enrich its digital additive manufacturing (AM) capabilities. 3YOURMIND and Phillips Corp. work closely with AMOC and are looking forward to building onto the integration of 3YOURMIND’s part identification software with Marine Corps System Command’s Digital Manufacturing Data Vault (DMDV).

The DMDV is a centralized digital repository for the Marine Corps to host data and design solutions, which is critical for AMOC to scale up its existing AM operations. Integrating 3YOURMIND’s part identification software with DMDV will enhance warfighter efforts to approve spare parts and components for field use. The effort is part of a larger mission by the Department of Defense to reshore supply chains, create distributed manufacturing networks, and sustain legacy equipment using additive technologies.

Read more at 3YOURMIND News

🖨️ Senvol to lead U.S. Army program focused on consistency of 3D printing performance

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Oliver Johnson

🔖 Topics: Funding Event, 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Senvol, US Army

Senvol has announced that it has received funding from the U.S. Army to lead a program focused on demonstrating that consistent part performance can be achieved on different additive manufacturing machines located at different sites.

The program is titled “Applying Machine Learning to Ensure Consistency and Verification of Additive Manufacturing Machine and Part Performance Across Multiple Sites”, and commenced in March 2023, running through March 2025.

Aaron LaLonde, PhD, Technical Specialist – Additive Manufacturing at the U.S. Navy said “For additive manufacturing to be successfully implemented into the Army’s supply chain, it is essential to be able to produce parts of consistent performance even if different machines are used at different locations. Today, that is much easier said than done. During this program, we are pleased to work with Senvol to demonstrate the use of its machine learning technology to aid in achieving what everyone in the additive manufacturing industry strives for, a truly flexible supply chain.”

Read more at TCT Magazine

IFS and Lockheed Martin Sign Enhanced Partnership to Keep Aerospace and Defense Assets Mission-Ready

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Partnership

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: IFS, Lockheed Martin

IFS, the global cloud enterprise applications provider, and Lockheed Martin announced a joint partnership to promote products and services to help aerospace and defense organizations maximize the value of their enterprise software investments, modernize their equipment maintenance and support processes, and keep assets mission-ready.

IFS and Lockheed Martin have worked together for a number of years. In 2021, IFS and Lockheed Martin announced that both companies had been selected by the U.S. Navy to deliver an intelligent maintenance solution to power the streamlining of multiple legacy systems into a single, fully digitized and insight driven logistics system. The solution comprises capabilities for planning and executing maintenance, repair and overhaul of more than 3,000 assets, including aircraft, ships and land-based equipment.

This new agreement will build on the success of the two companies. IFS software will be made available in the Lockheed Martin Innovation Demonstration Center located at its Training and Logistics Solutions facility in Orlando, Florida. Additionally, IFS and Lockheed Martin will collaborate on bid processes for customer opportunities, as well as share technology roadmaps to align their technology offerings for aerospace and defense customers.

Read more at IFS News

Palantir AIP | Defense and Military

How Large-Language Models Can Revolutionize Military Planning

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Benjamin Jensen, Dan Tadross

🔖 Topics: Large Language Model

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Scale AI

What happens when you give military planners access to large-language models and other artificial intelligence and machine-learning applications? Will the planner embrace the ability to rapidly synthesize diffuse data streams or ignore the tools in favor of romanticized views of military judgment as a coup d’œil? Can a profession still grappling to escape its industrial-age iron cage and bureaucratic processes integrate emerging technologies and habits of mind that are more inductive than deductive?

A team that includes a professor from Marine Corps University and a portfolio manager from Scale AI share our efforts to bridge new forms of data synthesis with foundational models of military decision-making. Based on this pilot effort, we see clear and tangible ways to integrate large-language models into the planning process. This effort will require more than just buying software. It will require revisiting how we approach epistemology in the military professional. The results suggest a need to expand the use of large-language models alongside new methods of instruction that help military professionals understand how to ask questions and interrogate the results. Skepticism is a virtue in the 21st century.

Read more at War on the Rocks

How Digital Twins are Shaping the Future of Defense System Design

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Jan Janick

🔖 Topics: Digital Twin

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Benchmark

The longer that military aircraft, combat tanks, and warships continue in service, the more difficult it becomes to manufacture or source their required parts. Maintaining a healthy supply chain and ensuring optimal performance can, therefore, become increasingly difficult. Since manufacturers can produce exact parts based on a digital model, the DoD is turning to digital twin technology to reduce lead time on part acquisition.

Another challenge is working with more sensitive IP, for example, in military system design and development as mentioned above. Having a fully functioning digital twin creates a serious cybersecurity threat since anyone gaining access to the digital twin could arguably recreate the product in the physical world. This potential threat requires putting limits in place regarding access to various aspects of the digital model, further complicating the idea of data creation, ownership, and access.

Read more at Setting the Benchmark

Go inside the plant making artillery rounds for U.S. and Ukrainian armies

US Navy installs Phillips Additive Hybrid metal 3D printing solution on USS Bataan

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, Laser Metal Deposition

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: US Navy, Phillips, Meltio, Haas

A hybrid metal 3D printing solution from Phillips Corporation has been installed on the USS Bataan. The system combines Meltio laser metal deposition technology with a CNC control mill from Haas. The solution will be used for the manufacturing of spare parts and repairs on board the Bataan.

Phillips says that the TM-1 platform that is included in the hybrid system has been proven to operate reliably in an afloat environment aboard several aircraft carriers. Integrating additive and subtractive manufacturing technologies within one system increases efficiency and reduces waste when compared with traditional machining according to Phillips.

The US Navy advanced efforts to improve self-sufficiency for deployed ships and their crews, while reducing supply chain lead times by using AM. According to Phillips, this is the first permanent installation of a metal 3D printer aboard a ship.

Read more at TCT Magazine

How a robotic arm could help the US Army lift artillery shells

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Kelsey Atherton

🔖 Topics: Robot Arm

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: US Army, Sarcos Robotics

To fire artillery faster, the US Army is turning to robotic arms. On December 1, Army Futures Command awarded a $1 million contract to Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation to test a robot system that can handle and move artillery rounds.

An automated system, using robot arms to fetch and ready artillery rounds, would function somewhat like a killer version of a vending machine arm. The human gunner could select the type of ammunition from internal stores, and then the robotic loader finds it, grabs it, and places it on a lift. Should the robot arm perform as expected in testing, it will eliminate a job that is all repetitive strain. The robot, lifting and loading ammunition, is now an autonomous machine, automating the dull and menial task of reading rounds to fire.

Read more at Popular Science

U.S. Navy Takes Falkonry AI to the High Seas for Increased Equipment Reliability and Performance

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Anomaly Detection

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Falkonry, US Navy, Oracle, NVIDIA

Falkonry today announced a big leap for Falkonry AI with the Office of Naval Research deploying its AI applications to advance equipment reliability on the high seas. This AI deployment is carried out with a Falkonry-designed reference architecture using NVIDIA accelerated computing and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s (OCI’s) distributed cloud. It enables better performance and reliability awareness using electrical and mechanical time series data from thousands of sensors at ultra-high speed.

Falkonry has designed its automated anomaly detection application, Falkonry Insight, to take advantage of Edge computing capabilities that are now available for high security and edge-to-cloud connectivity. Falkonry Insight includes a patent-pending, high-throughput time series AI engine that inspects every sensor data point to identify reliability and performance anomalies along with their contributing factors. Falkonry Insight organizes the information needed by operations teams to determine root causes and automatically informs operations teams to take rapid action. By inserting an edge device into the US Navy’s operational environment that can process data continuously, increasingly sophisticated naval platforms can maintain high reliability and performance out at sea.

Read more at Falkonry Newsroom

U.S. Army Awards Taqtile Phase II Contract To Expand Work Instruction Platform For Motor Pool

📅 Date:

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: US Army, Taqtile

The recently completed Phase 1 program enabled the Army to validate Manifest’s unique capabilities to support digital transformation of motor pool MRO. Manifest demonstrably empowered personnel to complete complex tasks more safely, more efficiently, and more accurately than was possible with outdated paper-based processes.

“The nature of service in the Army results in a high amount of turnover in its motor pools as soldiers rotate through their assignments,” said Mr. Kelly Malone, chief customer officer, Taqtile. “The expanded use of Manifest with Army personnel will clearly demonstrate that we are uniquely capable of delivering knowledge right to operators and the equipment they’re working on, helping them perform like experts.”

Read more at Taqtile News

The Connected Soldier

Ukraine to receive 1 million rounds of ammo from Wisconsin factory

U.S. Military To 3D Print Its Way Out Of Supply Chain Woes

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Carolyn Schwaar

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Defense

Additive manufacturing enables the military to produce new products quickly and cost-effectively, on-demand and at the point of need, either at base, at sea, or on the frontlines. It bolsters the lifespan of legacy systems and vehicles that might otherwise be retired.

Read more at Forbes

The Full Potential of a Military Metaverse

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Jennifer Mcardle, Caitlin Dohrman

🔖 Topics: Metaverse

🏭 Vertical: Defense

A defense metaverse could build on this digital education ecosystem but it would be far more immersive, providing opportunities to draw on some of the mixed-reality advancements in education that are already taking place in the civilian and military worlds. Additionally, a defense metaverse offers the possibility of connecting virtual environments for acquisitions with those used for experimentation or training, allowing acquisitions professionals to quickly test or assess their designs in a virtual world that mimics the future operating environment — all while providing a modicum of operational security that the live environment may not afford. Lastly, a defense metaverse — much like many platforms — should also facilitate technology reusability, helping to drive down costs associated with acquisitions.

Read more at War on the Rocks

New Micro-3D Printing Technique Could Benefit Pentagon

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Yasmin Tadjdeh

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Boston Micro Fabrication

For many pieces of equipment, such as lenses or sensors, there is a trend to make them smaller and smaller, he said. But traditional manufacturing techniques that have historically been used to make the parts don’t scale well and have other limitations. To address this, the company developed a process it calls projection micro stereolithography, he said. The technique allows for the rapid photopolymerization of a layer of resin with ultraviolet light at micro-scale resolution, allowing the company to achieve ultra-high accuracy precision and resolution that cannot be achieved with other technologies, according to Kawola’s slides.

Todd Spurgeon, a project engineer at America Makes, said he sees several ways the technology could be leveraged for the Defense Department. For example, it could be employed for higher-end electronics, circuits, small unmanned aerial vehicles and microneedle arrays for fast-acting medicines.

Read more at National Defense Magazine

Robots Automate Disassembly of Chemical Weapons

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: safety

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Bechtel, CRG Automation

Disarming and disassembling the rockets is not easy, and the task is made even more difficult because of the rocket’s design. The rocket propellant cannot be removed from the warhead without cutting open the rocket, and the propellant itself presents a hazard, because it becomes unstable as it ages. Another danger is leakage of the toxic nerve agents. As sarin decomposes, it forms acids that can corrode the aluminum casing inside the rocket.

Both Ankrom and Staggs have seen first-hand how advancements in chemical weapons destruction now require fewer and fewer people. Ankrom started working with chemical agents in the mid-1980s, recalling how his first project, which focused on a hallucinogenic, was entirely manual and required 15 people. Even as recently as 2014, workers at the Blue Grass depot had to manually separate the warheads from the rocket motors and then separate the fuses from the warheads to support testing at the Anniston Static Detonation Chamber disposal plant, adds Staggs, who has worked with chemical weapons since 1978. “Adding the automation with robots has assisted us with reducing people interaction with these aging chemical weapons,” Staggs says. But the Blue Grass depot’s original disposal system plans, even with its robots, presented problems when workers discovered leaking rockets.

The agency reached out to CRG Automation, an engineering firm best known for building packaging lines for the likes of Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and Kraft. CRG Automation has been designing and building packaging and processing equipment for the food, beverage and consumer products industries for more than 20 years. CRG Automation developed an alternative method by holding the assembly fixed and making the cut with the rocket in a vertical orientation, ensuring that any leaking chemical agent would simply gather in the bottom of a containment device. Cutting the rockets in an upright orientation also meant that the operation could be done more precisely. The cut can be located with an accuracy of 0.001 inch, Ankrom says. Six-axis robots are used to load and unload the cutting machines.

Read more at Assembly Magazine

U.S. Army’s New Expeditionary 3D Concrete Printer Can Go Anywhere, Build Anything

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: David Hambling

🔖 Topics: additive manufacturing, 3d printing

🏭 Vertical: Defense, Construction

🏢 Organizations: US Army, Caterpillar

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Automated Construction of Expeditionary Structures (ACES) program is a game changer for construction in remote areas. The project will supply rugged 3D concrete printers that can go anywhere and print (almost) anything. The project started several years ago when concrete printers were very much in their infancy, but even then it was obvious that commercial products would not fit the Army’s needs.

ACES has produced multiple printers working with different industry partners. For example, ACES Lite was made in partnership with Caterpillar under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. It packs into a standard 20-foot shipping container and can be set-up or taken down in 45 minutes, has built-in jacks for quick leveling and can be calibrated in a matter of seconds, making it more straightforward than other devices. Overall the printer resembles a gantry crane, with a concrete pump, hose and a robotic nozzle which lays down precise layers.

The new technology is not magic, as 3D-printed construction is still construction. It does not do everything. A printed building still requires a roof and finishing touches like any other construction work. In areas with good logistics where equipment, labor and materials are all plentiful, there may be little advantage to the ACES approach. But in expeditionary environments, where all these things are likely to be in short supply, ACES could make a real difference.

Read more at Forbes

Additive for Aerospace: Welcome to the New Frontier

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Kip Hanson

🔖 Topics: additive manufacturing, nondestructive test

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace, Defense

🏢 Organizations: Aerojet Rocketdyne, NASA, Northrop Grumman

Gao, a tech fellow and AM technical lead at Aerojet Rocketdyne, is particularly interested in the 3D printing of heat-resistant superalloys (HRSAs) and a special group of elements known as refractory metals. The first of these enjoy broad use in gas turbines and rocket engines, but it’s the latter that offers the greatest potential for changing the speed and manner in which humans propel aircraft, spacecraft, and weaponry from Point A to Point B.

“When you print these materials, they typically become both stronger and harder than their wrought or forged equivalents,” he said. “The laser promotes the creation of a supersaturated solid solution with fantastic properties, ones that cannot be achieved otherwise. When you combine this with AM’s ability to generate shapes that were previously impossible to manufacture, it presents some very exciting possibilities for the aerospace industry.”

Eric Barnes, a fellow of advanced and additive manufacturing at Northrop Grumman, says “Northrop Grumman and its customers are now in a position to more readily adopt additive manufacturing and prepare to enter that plateau of productivity because we have spent the past few years collecting the required data and generating the statistical information needed to ensure long term use of additive manufacturing in an aeronautical environment… In the future, you may be able to eliminate NDT completely. Comprehensive build data will also serve to reduce qualification timelines, and if you’re able to understand all that’s going on inside the build chamber in real-time, machine learning and AI systems might be able to adjust process parameters such that you never have a bad part.”

Read more at SME Media

Improving the Manufacturing Process Through 3D Printing

The Evolving Geography of the US Defense Industrial Base

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Doug Berenson

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Avascent

Overall, defense contracts have grown more concentrated among fewer locations in the United States. Understanding where the U.S. defense industry is primarily located today offers indications of its connection to broader commercial sectors, whether they be in aviation, information technology, or other areas. The increased concentration of defense technologies and companies in geographic “clusters” could also exacerbate an already troubling divide between the U.S. military and the broader civilian population. Additionally, the changing landscape of the defense industry has implications for congressional oversight, as members of the legislative branch seek, or avoid, roles on key defense committees.

Read more at War on the Rocks

Sparks fly as BAE Systems brings innovation to welding

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: robot welding, robotics

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: BAE Systems, US Army Research Laboratory, Wolf Robotics

Funded by the U.S. Government, BAE Systems engineers collaborated with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and Wolf Robotics to develop an Agile Manufacturing Robotic Welding Cell customized for aluminum structures that comprise the combat vehicle’s hull.

Prior to welding automation, large aluminum pieces that form the hull were hand-welded together, requiring numerous weld passes at each seam to build the hull. Hand welding requires the welder to hold the weld gun with both hands, pull the trigger to feed wire into the weld joint that creates an arc. The gun is then moved over the metal slowly to create a weld. The number of weld starts and stops in a single seam is based on the length and reach of the welder’s arms. The further a welder can reach, the less he or she needs to stop and start again.

Read more at BAE Systems

Aerospace, Defense and Industry 4.0

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Jim Camillo

🔖 Topics: IIoT

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace, Defense

🏢 Organizations: BAE Systems, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Airbus, Fraunhofer IIF

“Designing for manufacturability, modeling the production environment, and then producing our products with a minimum of duplicated effort—this can give us the breakthroughs in speed and affordability that the A&D environment needs in a time of limited budgets and rapidly changing threats,” explains Daughters. “These technologies are an essential component to our ‘digital thread’ across the product life cycle. They give us the ability to simulate tradeoffs between capability, manufacturability, complexity, materials and cost before transitioning to the physical world.”

“In a nutshell, I4.0 involves leveraging technology to better serve the world,” says Matt Medley, industry director for A&D manufacturing at IFS, a multinational enterprise software company. “More than just collecting and processing mounds of data via sensors and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), I4.0 is turning data into actionable intelligence to not only drive efficiency and grow profits, but to also help companies be good stewards of our natural resources and local communities. Aerospace and defense companies whose enterprise software can keep pace with developments like additive manufacturing, AI, digital twins, and virtual and augmented reality (V/AR) are the ones that will thrive in an increasingly digital 4.0 era.”

Read more at Assembly

3D Printing Technologies in Aerospace and Defense Industries

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Dick Slansky

🔖 Topics: 3D printing, additive manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace, Defense

🏢 Organizations: Boeing

Currently, AI is an integral part of the design process for AM in aerospace. In designing parts for aircraft, achieving the optimal weight-to-strength ratio is a primary objective, since reducing weight is an important factor in air-frame structures design. Today’s PLM solutions offer function-driven generative design using AI-based algorithms to capture the functional specifications and generate and validate conceptual shapes best suited for AM fabrication. Using this generative functional design method produces the optimal lightweight design within the functional specifications.

Read more at AutomationWorld

F-16s Are Now Getting Washed By Robots

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Thomas Newdick

🔖 Topics: machine vision, robotics

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Wilder Systems

The Wilder Systems solution actually leverages technology previously developed for robotic drilling in commercial aircraft manufacturing and converts these components and subsystems into an automated washing system. The main changes have involved the development and addition of robot end-effectors to provide the water and soap spray, waterproofing of the robots themselves, and a robot motion path, which is dependent on the type of aircraft to be cleaned.

Read more at The Drive