Additive manufacturing (AM) technologies are becoming increasingly important in European defence. At the 2nd European Military Additive Manufacturing Symposium, organised by the German Defence Technology Association (DWT), more than 250 experts from the German Armed Forces, NATO, industry and science gathered in Bonn. Even generals, senior officers and state secretaries from the Defence Ministries D and A, many Nato states, US Navy, Australia, Sweden, Finland etc. were present. The event dealt with the topics of use cases in the military, training, quality assurance and AM integration into the military logistics system. The many different AM technologies were also presented with regard to legal aspects and standardisation. Especially mobile container systems or wire-based DED robot applications and plastic printers on ships represent the innovations.
So far, the Bundeswehr has prioritised testing plastics at the 3D printing centre (WiWeb Erding). From 2024, metal printing and repair solutions will be prioritised. Photo Metrom The Metrom company (Hartmansdorf) showed the flexible mobile hybrid milling machining centre in double containers as a repair factory. Here, entire vehicles or parts can be welded on and hybrid milled in one operation using wire AM laser build-up welding from Meltio (Spain). Photo Meltio Meltio has already supplied several systems, also together in milling machines, to the Spanish military, the German armed forces and US Navy aircraft carriers. Due to the low-cost and easily storable wire, relatively thin-walled (2mm) components with a good surface similar to sand casting and high strength can be built up relatively quickly and cheaply.
The company Titomic presented its new small low-priced mobile Metal Cold Spray unit. In this process, metal powder is accelerated by compressed air or nitrogen and becomes a metal body on impact. This process has very high build-up rates and can also be used very well for the quick repair of castings (steel, grey cast iron, aluminium, titanium, copper). This system is interesting for foundries and repairers.