SPEE3D launches expeditionary manufacturing unit

Image credit: SPEE3D

Metal additive manufacturing company SPEE3D announced the launch of its Expeditionary Manufacturing Unit (EMU), a comprehensive on-site mobile additive manufacturing solution.

This innovative system integrates SPEE3D’s XSPEE3D metal 3D printer with the SPEE3Dcell post-processing and testing unit, housed in two 20-foot shipping containers, the company said in a news release.

At the European Defence Agency’s AM Village 2024 Workshop in Tournai, Belgium, SPEE3D will demonstrate this cutting-edge deployable technology alongside the British Army to representatives from over 25 EU and NATO countries.

The EMU is poised to allow industries such as defence, mining, and marine to replace metal parts in hours instead of days or weeks, significantly reducing disruption and downtime costs.

Unlike other additive manufacturing solutions, the EMU does not rely on dangerous and expensive lasers or inert gases, and it requires no extensive prior expertise with additive manufacturing technology.

Byron Kennedy, CEO of SPEE3D, emphasised the importance of the EMU in addressing the fragility of the global supply chain.

“The launch of our Expeditionary Manufacturing Unit addresses the current state of the global supply chain, which is fragile and increasingly under pressure. Part of the issue for defence and other heavy industries is getting critical equipment up and running quickly to avoid costly production delays.”

He continued, “EMU will enable the British Army and others to take control, giving them the ability to print and post-process parts very quickly from anywhere.”

In particular, the EMU system features two 20-foot containers equipped with twist locks, a ruggedized mobile metal 3D printer capable of producing high-density metal parts from a variety of materials, and a comprehensive post-processing shop that includes a heat treatment furnace, CNC three-axis mill, tooling, and testing equipment.

The company said this product can be transported on a single platform, such as a truck trailer, ship, or plane.

A UK Army spokesperson highlighted the significance of this collaboration, stating, “Through its continual programme of modernisation, the British Army embraces new innovative manufacturing solutions to keep it at the forefront of emerging technology and at a tactical advantage over its potential adversaries.”

“Our collaboration with SPEE3D has produced the world’s first fully field deployable 3D cold metal printing capability, heralding a step change in deployable engineering capabilities for our forces deployed overseas,” the spokesperson noted.

SPEE3D revealed it has extensive collaborations with defence forces worldwide, including those of Japan, the US, the UK, and Australia.

Last fall, a team trained Ukrainian military personnel in Poland on this technology, and future plans include working with the UAE Military of Defense.