US Navy taps SPEE3D for first-ever SALVEX exercise at Pearl Harbor

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Image credit: SPEE3D

SPEE3D, a leader in metal additive manufacturing, announced its participation in the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) inaugural SALVEX exercise, which commenced on 13 May 2024, at Naval Base Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii.

Working alongside the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), SPEE3D is deploying its XSPEE3D and SPEE3Dcell Cold Spray Additive Manufacturing (CSAM) technologies to aid in the “rescue” of a ship that will be intentionally damaged at sea and subsequently towed back to port.

Navy reservists will receive training to operate the XSPEE3D, enabling them to print essential metal parts on demand, the company said in a media release.

The US Navy’s objective at SALVEX is to validate the efficacy of additive manufacturing technology in enhancing maintenance operations, thereby improving ship material conditions and facilitating battle damage repair.

The additive manufacturer said the XSPEE3D printer is ideally suited for this mission, offering a containerized, rugged, and easily deployable solution capable of producing metal parts in remote locations and under harsh conditions.

The XSPEE3D can manufacture metal components up to 1m x 0.7m (40″ x 30″) within hours, utilising a range of metals including aluminum, aluminum bronze, stainless steel, and copper.

In addition to the XSPEE3D, the SPEE3Dcell post-processing and testing unit functions as a comprehensive workshop.

It includes a heat treatment furnace, CNC three-axis mill, tooling, and testing equipment.

Unlike other additive manufacturing solutions, the XSPEE3D and SPEE3Dcell do not require dangerous and costly lasers or inert gases, and they can be operated without extensive prior expertise in additive manufacturing technology.

A Navy spokesperson highlighted the importance of robust technology that can operate effectively in diverse environments, including maritime settings.

“Ensuring the security of our nation requires technology that can successfully work in all environments – including at sea – and we’re excited to have SPEE3D join the SALVEX exercise to demonstrate their additive manufacturing capabilities for maritime repair,” the spokesperson said.

“Supply chain issues are prevalent, so being able to manufacture metal parts quickly and from anywhere is a significant challenge that we’re eager to test and hopefully resolve.”

Byron Kennedy, CEO of SPEE3D, expressed pride in the company’s selection for this critical exercise.

“SPEE3D is honoured to be selected by the US Navy once again to demonstrate our proprietary cold-spray metal additive manufacturing technology to help solve some of their most pressing supply chain issues in the field,” he stated.

“The opportunity to participate in an exercise where a ship will be purposefully damaged as part of a naval exercise is novel, and we are optimistic that XSPEE3D will be able to print crucial metal parts to help repair the vessel quickly,” Kennedy noted.

For more information on SPEE3D’s technologies and their involvement in the SALVEX exercise, visit SPEE3D.