Home / 3D Printer Hardware / The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Acquires Its First Metal 3D Printer to Enhance R&D

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Acquires Its First Metal 3D Printer to Enhance R&D

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is the Navy’s full-spectrum corporate laboratory, conducting a broad-based program of scientific research and development for maritime application related to oceanic, atmospheric, and space sciences. They have selected Concept Laser’s 3D metal printing technology for rapid prototyping and materials research. This is their first laser powder-bed metals machine.

NRL will be using Concept Laser’s M2 cusing machine to print in Stainless Steel. Along with the machine, they will be using QM Meltpool 3D to monitor the quality of their metal applications, inspecting the part as it grows. This will also help them identify any design defects and if an application is on the edge of acceptability. Additionally, they will be using CL WRX Parameter 2.0 to freely design and develop custom parameters.

“We require a wide range of Additive Manufacturing (AM) capabilities, ranging from quality monitoring to process parameter development, and need an architecture conducive to that research and development effort.” Dr. Charles Rohde, NRL Acoustics Division.

Additive manufacturing involves taking digital designs from computer aided design (CAD) software, and laying horizontal cross-sections to manufacture the part. Additive components are typically lighter and more durable than traditional forged parts because they require less welding and machining. Because additive parts are essentially “grown” from the ground up, they generate far less scrap material. Freed of traditional manufacturing restrictions, additive manufacturing dramatically expands the design possibilities for engineers.

“It is very exciting that the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is bolstering their focus on metal additive manufacturing. There are so many advantages of 3D metal printing that our defense strategy could benefit from, including reduced lead time, less material waste, and printing complex geometries with no required assembly. NRL has a history of over 90 years of innovation in naval power and we look forward to hear how they will use 3D metal printing to break boundaries.” John Murray, President and CEO of Concept Laser Inc.

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory provides the advanced scientific capabilities required to bolster our country’s position of global naval leadership. The Laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to advance research.

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