General Dynamics Land Systems selects GE Additive Print Services for its Metal Additive Manufacturing requirements

metal additive manufacturing
metal additive manufacturing
Above: GE Additive 3D printed the first metal part to be installed on a U.S. ground combat vehicle/Image Credit: GE Additive

GE Additive, the additive manufacturing arm of GE, revealed that it has been awarded a contract by General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics. Through the contract GE Additive Print services will help General Dynamics Land Systems fulfil its metal additive manufacturing requirements.

GE Additive Print Services will also support General Dynamics with part qualification, production, post processing and inspection of additively manufactured components.

Exploring Metal Additive Manufacturing Technology

metal additive manufacturing
Above: General Dynamics Land Systems is one of the leaders in the design, development, production, support and enhancement of tracked and wheeled military vehicles/Image Credit: General Dynamics Land Systems

General Dynamics Land Systems is one of the leaders in the design, development, production, support and enhancement of tracked and wheeled military vehicles. Now it is exploring additive manufacturing technology to develop applications for its combat vehicle platforms. General Dynamics and GE Additive will work together to identify applications in which metal additive manufacturing can provide value through weight reduction, performance optimization and lead time reduction.

First Additively Manufactured Metal Component on a U.S. Ground Combat Vehicle

General Dynamics and GE Additive recently collaborated on a single titanium component – a cable guard. This cable guard was redesigned by GE Additive engineers to replace a complex 18-piece welded steel structure. This not only reduced the complexity of the part eliminating assembly but also yielded an 85% weight savings compared with the existing part.

The cable guard will be the first additively manufactured metal production part on a U.S. ground combat vehicle. General Dynamics believes this will pave the way for similar applications through the new partnership with GE Additive.

The main aim of the collaboration is to ensure a seamless transition from prototype to production for selected components, an aspect ignored by many companies trying to incorporate AM into their manufacturing workflow.

Teams from General Dynamics and GE Additive will create a standardized build plate orientation, as well as support structures and quality control plans to deliver an efficient and repeatable production process.

Reactions from the Team

Excited about the collaboration, Jason Deters, a specialist in Process & Technology Development at General Dynamics said, “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.” 

According to Bill Vanslembrouck, a specialist in Advanced Products & Technology at General Dynamics, “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.”

From the GE additive team, Chris Schuppe, general manager at GE Additive AddWorks commented, “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.”

He also added that, “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.”

On the production scale, the newly developed cable guards will be additively manufactured on GE Additive Arcam EBM Q20plus machines, which are well-suited to titanium alloys because the process takes place in vacuum at elevated temperatures, eliminating residual stress and providing superior material properties.

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