A new cooperation between the Material Stock Logistic Command of the Dutch Army and DiManEx will help solve a widespread problem of sourcing and reproducing legacy parts. The agreement became official earlier this month and stems from the army’s Land Maintenance Initiative. Introducing 3D printing technology within their supply chain is part of an effort to make the armed forces more adaptive to new advanced manufacturing processes.
Experimenting with 3D printing technologies isn’t something new to the Dutch Ministry of Defense, but a recent roadmap created by the Material Stock Logistic Command (MatLogCo) will help guide the implementation process in a streamlined manner. One of the first steps is to create a new 3D printing center within this command division to develop a deeper understanding of the tools and training needed to properly execute the roadmap.
With so many 3D technologies and materials to delve into, it’s difficult for one organization to take on the technology transition alone. Working with DiManEx will provide access to cloud-based end-to-end services by coordinating 3D manufacturing through a network of certified 3D printing partners. Their digital supply chain can be accessed anywhere in the world to produce high-quality industrial parts in small batches.
To kickstart the partnership, DiManEx and the Dutch Army will focus on experimentation and addressing challenges relating to the supply of spare parts. So far, 14 parts have been identified for 3D printing and testing. DiManEx’s support will include engineering expertise, manufacturing, and quality assurance, guiding the institution throughout the material testing process. The Dutch Army will also be sharing the results of the experiments with the German Armed Forces, their collaborators in developing 3D printing practices.
For any branch of the armed forces, identifying reliable sources for legacy parts is a difficult challenge to overcome. Often, parts will be damaged or nonexistent, requiring a high level of reverse engineering or starting a new design from scratch. Other times, it’s difficult to find a manufacturer that’s willing to produce spare parts in low quantities since it doesn’t usually make sense from a financial standpoint. This is where 3D printing and the partnership with DiManEx will add value to the Dutch Army’s supply chain. Engineers at DiManEx have already worked with the Dutch Army to develop a number of use cases for the purpose of proving the value and viability of the technology.
“In order to reach other destinations, you sometimes have to choose a new route. This holds true for the Royal Dutch Army,” said Colonel Robert Meeuwsen, Head of Innovation at the Dutch Army. “By choosing new production methods, we are choosing a new route. A route that will be faster to travel through using DiManEx’s in-depth knowledge and market expertise. The printed parts are tested and approved once they fulfill our quality control requirements. For this pilot, we chose to print parts for a combat vehicle, the Fennek, because innovation must go hand in hand with our core task. We are committed to our AM roadmap. A roadmap which was prepared in coordination with other defense units and the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). This proves that 3D printing and other Additive Manufacturing (AM) techniques are ready for regular business operations. We hope other organizations will be open to taking this new route as well.”
“We are excited about the cooperation with the Dutch Army, and proud of the fact that we have already been able to provide a solution for spare / service parts, which were no longer available or would become obsolete when buying the Minimum Order Quantity,” said DiManEx CEO Tibor van Melsem Kocsis. ” We will work together to secure the availability of these parts whenever needed, and in the required volume.”
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