Additive Manufacturing Strategies

GE Additive & General Dynamics Land Systems 3D Print Metal Part for US Ground Combat Vehicle

ST Medical Devices

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GE Additive Print Services has shared their additive manufacturing expertise and success with General Dynamics Land Systems to 3D print a titanium cable guard at their Pittsburgh production site. This collaboration is historical as it marks the first time a 3D printed metal part will be used in a US ground combat vehicle.

Along with creating the part in Pittsburgh, GE Additive also offers the following support in additive manufacturing:

  • Part qualification
  • Production
  • Post processing
  • Inspection


Like so many other companies today, General Dynamics Land Systems is poised to take advantage of the myriad benefits offered by 3D printing and additive manufacturing processes. GE Additive is certainly a likely source to draw from, and according to the recent press release sent to 3DPrint.com regarding the project, it sounds as if GE will be leading the Michigan-headquartered company in an ongoing technological and industrial journey to develop applications for building combat vehicle platforms.

“General Dynamics is always looking for innovative technologies to enhance our products, and additive manufacturing holds real promise in the near term. We’ll continue teaming with leading suppliers such as GE Additive as we uncover additional applications for this exciting technology,” said Jason Deters, a specialist in Process & Technology Development at General Dynamics.

Additive specialists from GDLS demonstrating cable guard evolution. (Photo: GE Additive, GEADPR019)

General Dynamics realized their need for innovation as they began seeking a way to create parts that are higher, offer better performance, and are faster to make.

“The GE Additive team has been a great partner during this transition, and we’ve benefited from their expertise on the specific design and qualification requirements for additive-manufactured production components,” added Bill Vanslembrouck, a specialist in Advanced Products & Technology at General Dynamics.

The part will replace an older 18-part steel component, and both companies expect it to be the precursor to many similar following applications. The teams from both companies are working to streamline the phase from prototyping to actual production, using GE’s EBM Q20plus machines. To do so, they will have to put several specific dynamics into place:

  • Standardized build plate orientation
  • Support structures
  • Quality control plans

“We’re honored to be working with General Dynamics at this important inflection point in its additive strategy. My team excels at getting organizations from prototype to production as efficiently as possible,” said Chris Schuppe, general manager at GE Additive AddWorks.

“To do that, we add value by keeping the business case front of mind, building on our additive production experience and offering our customers multiple technology modalities.”

3D printing has certainly earned its own street cred over the past few years—with demanding users in nearly every nook and cranny of the world—but when you realize how many different types of combat and military applications it has been used for, the respect grows deeper as we learn more about 3D printed submarine hulls, durable components made from thermoplastic parts, and titanium parts for fighter planes. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Source / Images: GE Additive]

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