WEST BETHESDA, Md. —
Employees from Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD)
presented technological advances in additive manufacturing (AM) and other areas at Sea-Air-Space in National Harbor, Maryland, May 16-18.
This is the 51st year the Navy League of the United States has collaborated with sea services and defense and maritime industries to present the nation's largest maritime defense expo. Carderock employees were on hand to man booths, while Dr. Tim Arcano, NSWCCD technical director, moderated an AM industry break-out session.
Arcano said the Department of the Navy (DON) has been experimenting with and exploiting AM for the past 20 years, and Carderock Division has embraced this technology with the opening of its Manufacturing, Knowledge and Education (MAKE) Lab -- which provides training opportunities for scientists and engineers who want to learn about it and contribute their ideas. Arcano talked about the exciting possibilities for this technology to save time and money and enhance warfighting capabilities, as well as how the DON is actively working under the AM Implementation Plan to harness this technology.
"While there are multiple emerging efforts in AM, there are unique Navy and Marine Corps challenges that must be addressed to fully realize the benefits of AM for widespread implementation," Arcano said.
The panel consisted of both military and civilian DON leadership who discussed these challenges, including the operational environment; setting uniform specifications and standards, and security of data; what DON is doing to address those challenges; and foundational advancements the services have made in AM.
"A lot of times when we put these technologies in the hands of Sailors and have them innovate, they can come up with solutions to these problems -- and it's usually the best solution, vice whatever we can come up with in [Washington] D.C. or a warfare center," said Capt. Frank Futcher, AM lead for Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. "But being able to link the scientists and engineers back up with the Sailors, it'll really be able to speed that process up.
"We can then get some of those solutions into a program, into a supply system, so the solution used on one ship is potentially applicable and utilized by the rest of the fleet," added Futcher. "We need to be able to simplify, automate, understand environmental impacts, and how we're going to train and educate the workforce and use some of these new technologies that are coming out."
Also speaking at the panel were Dr. Justin Rettaliata, AM technical warrant holder for Naval Sea Systems Command; Liz McMichael, director of innovation for the Logistics and Industrial Operations Competency supporting Aviation Readiness; Marine Capt. Chris Wood, AM co-lead for Headquarters, Marine Corps; Navy Lt. Todd Coursey, fabrication laboratory project officer; and Dr. Jenn Wolk, program officer, Office of Naval Research, Naval Materials Science and Technology Division (formerly a Carderock employee).
Carderock's AM efforts were also represented at the Navy Energy & Innovation, DON AM Print-a-thon and Great Green Fleet booths. Members of the AM Tiger Team performed 3-D printing demonstrations at the Navy Energy & Innovation booth, while the Non-penetrating Optionally Manned Demonstrator (NOMAD) Print-a-thon team displayed the NOMAD unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) technology demonstrator.
NOMAD was one of five entries selected for display at Sea-Air-Space by the office of Dr. John Burrow, deputy secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation. Harry Whittaker, team lead for Sailor Performance Support Technology (Code 821), said NOMAD is a wet submersible UUV that Carderock's employees are working with U.S. Special Operations forces to create different designs, payloads and mission sets. He said using 3-D printing to create prototypes saves the government time and money in creating new versions of NOMAD.
"A prototype of the NOMAD hull can be created in one week for the cost of approximately $22,000, which includes material and the cost of 3-D printing," Whittaker said. "A vessel of similar size now costs $300,000 to $500,000 and takes 3-5 months to manufacture. Using AM technology allows us to build and field new prototypes quickly. We don't have to use a contract; this is all in-house by the government, so that speeds up the process drastically."
Dominic Cusanelli, a naval architect with the Hullform and Propulsors Testing Branch (Code 854), displayed a prototype bow bulb and stern flaps at the Great Green Fleet booth and talked to attendees about how these attachments -- which are designed, created, tested and produced at Carderock -- reduce drag and turbulence to increase propulsion efficiency on Navy ships, reducing power and fuel use.
"Stern flaps have been on ships since 1988; there have been 191 installations to date on 14 classes, and they have saved the Navy $1.4 billion," Cusanelli said. "It's not small numbers. We're talking about huge amounts of fuel and money saved for the Navy at minimal cost."
Mike Lacny, an engineer also with the Hullform and Propulsors Testing Branch (Code 854), displayed flap prototypes created in the MAKE Lab and said the Navy has recently adopted this technology for five classes of amphibious ships, which will receive their own flaps in the next few years.
Outside the expo's main space, Carderock employees also assisted with tours of the M80 Stiletto maritime demonstration craft, which is operated out of Carderock's Little Creek detachment.