Defense Contractor Austal USA Orders AML3D’s Largest-Ever ARCEMY Metal 3D Printer


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Austal USA, an Alabama-based subsidiary of Australian shipbuilder Austal, has purchased an ARCEMY 6700 metal 3D printer from AML3D, which the latter says will be the largest machine that it has ever built. The custom-built machine was sold via AML3D’s North American reseller, Philips Corporation, for about A$2.2 million (US$1.43 million), and is expected to be delivered sometime in the middle of 2024.

The order comes a couple of weeks after another US defense contractor, Cogitic, based in Colorado Springs, purchased an ARCEMY 6700 for A$2.5 million (about US$1.6 million). AML3D plans to deliver that machine in the middle of 2024, as well.

In a press release about AML3D’s sale of its largest-ever ARCEMY platform to Austal USA, Sean Ebert, managing director of AML3D, said, “This second order by Philips over the past few months evidences the success of the reseller agreement with Philips, which provides us with leverage of their long-standing relationships with the US Department of Defense and their suppliers, enabling us to accelerate the development of a US ARCEMY sales pipeline to both Navy and its industrial base. As momentum within AML3D’s US scale-up strategy continues to grow, we are seeing the commercial benefits. Notably, this order demonstrates strong alignment of our strategy with Austal USA Advanced Technologies’ efforts to revolutionize the US Navy’s supply chain through the implementation of additive manufacturing for castings, forgings, and fittings.”

Philips also sold an ARCEMY platform to Austal USA this past July. The first machine sold will be located at the US Navy’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE), in Danville, Virginia, while the most recent sale, the custom-built machine, will be delivered to the Austal USA Advanced Technologies facility in Charlottesville, Virginia.

On the back of its strategic shift that I wrote about in an interview with Sean Ebert published in June 2023, AML3D has emerged to become a key example of the DoD’s rebuilding of the US defense industrial base (DIB). According to Additive Manufacturing Research’s recent report, Additive Manufacturing for Military and Defense, DoD will spend $300 million in 2023 on 3D printers such as the ARCEMY.

Combined with the previous sale to Austal as well as the sale to Cogitic, this latest sale is especially interesting, because it conveys quite clearly what these sorts of supply chain linkages being put into place will look like going forward. Austal USA and the US Navy will presumably work together directly on parts tested at the AM CoE, which can eventually be digitally linked to the larger machine at Austal’s Charlottesville facility, and finally to subcontractors like Cogitic all over the US, as well as in allied nations like Australia.

Along these lines, it would seem like a good bet that AML3D is in the process of being able to achieve truly distributed manufacturing — a feat that is still a rarity at this phase in the history of the AM sector. This bodes well not only for the companies directly mentioned here, but for the other handful of AM companies that have already demonstrated distributed manufacturing capabilities, especially Velo3D and Markforged.

Images courtesy of AML3D

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