The US Navy has awarded Stratasys a $20 million contract to purchase up to 25 Stratasys F900 3D printers over the next five years.
The delivery of the first eight are expected before the end of the year.
In addition to the printers, the contract includes initial support and sustainment, materials, and development of initial training for the supplied systems.
The US Department of Defense (DoD) issued a report in January outlining its additive manufacturing strategy. The report explained how manufacturing is undergoing a digital revolution, and the important role additive manufacturing can play in a shift to a digital manufacturing ecosystem.
In particular, additive manufacturing can help modernise the national defence systems, increase materiel readiness, and enhance warfighting innovation and capability.
Among other objectives, the DoD set a goal of integrating additive manufacturing into both the department and the broader defence industrial base, while advancing and promoting the agile use of 3D printing.
“The benefits of additive manufacturing for military organizations like the U.S. Navy include cost-effectively extending the life of strategic and tactical assets like aircraft while ensuring sustainment activities can happen quickly and from virtually anywhere,” said Mark Menninger, director of US government business segment for Stratasys. “This contract, the largest government project for Stratasys to-date, continues to expand the presence of industrial 3D printing from Stratasys across the US government.”
The printers will be located on bases in the US and Japan with the potential to be used to produce end-use parts, tooling and training aids, as well as to assist the Navy in achieving its goal of using distributed additive manufacturing practices to maintain its fleet of aircraft across bases worldwide.